Even Cavemen Like Banana Bread

I don’t follow a strict paleo diet by any means, but I usually try to limit the amount of carbs and sugar that I have.  (Don’t ask me to do that when there is a banoffee pie in proximity though.  It’s a new found love that I will share next week!)

Paleo diets are also known as the caveman diet and follows what a Paleolithic human would have eaten or had access to back in the day.  Like I said, I just try to limit the carbs and refined sugars.  In an effort to do so, I try some recipes out and this is a banana bread that uses coconut flour which I’m not sure cavemen would have had?  It IS a low sugar and low fat version of banana bread though and I thought tasted decently.

I followed a recipe on Pinterest from southerninlaw.com

“The BEST Healthy Paleo Banana Bread Recipe”

1 cup + 1 tbsp (2 medium bananas) ripe mashed banana
2 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted (I used butter cause I had it in the fridge)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs
1/2 cup  coconut flour (The writer of the recipe recommends this one for the best results!)
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 tsp baking soda

I followed the recipe pretty closely.
Preheat oven to 340F.

Grease and line a small loaf tin and set aside.  I greased my Pyrex loaf dish (that I picked up at a thrift store for $.70! Can you tell I’m proud of that frugal find?) with butter.
In a medium mixing bowl, mash your bananas

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and add in your honey, vanilla, melted butter/coconut oil, applesauce and eggs.

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Mix in your coconut flour, baking soda and almond meal and allow to sit for two minutes.

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She says the mix will be runny, more like a pancake batter mix.  Mine was already on the thick side so my coconut flour was pretty absorbing.  If your batter is too runny, she says to add a spoon of coconut flour slowly until it’s the right consistency.  You’ll want to make sure you let it sit each time to see how the coconut flour is absorbing.

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Once you get your banana bread to what you think is the right consistency, pour it into that greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 40 mins.

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Mine wasn’t baking in the middle, so I got creative on the bake.  I knew I was going to cut into slices, so I sliced it and removed each end of slices.  I put it back in the oven to bake the rest a bit longer and it seemed to do the trick and not overbake the ends.

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The writer suggests – If your banana bread is browning too quickly but isn’t cooked in the middle, cover it with foil.  She also says to allow to cool completely before slicing.  Oops!  I didn’t do that for sure.  I sliced right out of the oven to remove some of the bread (and ate it!)

Its suggested that you can keep the bread in a sealed container in your refrigerator up to a week or freeze individual slices.  Or…you can take it to work, like I did, and watch it disappear in 2 days.  I wasn’t sure that others would like it and I warned everyone that it wasn’t normal banana bread so don’t expect a strong sugary flavor.  It was eaten, so I think they didn’t mind it?

Feel free to try it and let me know if you had any other variations.  I’m thinking of trying a zucchini bread next and hoping it’s not going to taste like a salad.  Here’s hoping!

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Organization Schmorganization

I was tidying up in the house in all of the usual areas that are visual.  It’s not Spring but some necessary spring cleaning became apparent when I opened the cupboard under my kitchen sink.  What was I thinking?  How could his be?  I don’t think this is how this is supposed to look?

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I took to Pinterest immediately!  (Haha cause it has all of the good ideas, I needed help and obsessions aren’t easily discarded apparently).  From the look of things, a small miracle was needed.

My cleaning habits really don’t require so much product but now that I have all of this stuff I have to figure out something to better utilize and keep more used products in the front.

I saw a picture of a much more organized cupboard and got inspired.  I ran to Target and got a tension rod to match my organization to the picture!

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I installed my tension rod fairly high in the cupboard and made sure to make it tightly fit so it could handle weight and not fall.

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Installation complete and cupboard not perfect but a bit more handy!  Anyone have any of your own organization tips and tricks to share?  I can always use them!

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Color Change!

I’ve had a case of writer’s block as of late, to be honest.  I attribute that to being too busy, the Olympics are on and there’s some change in the air for me.  I feel it.  Hopefully good change, but as everyone experiences, you take the good with the bad.

Being too busy is my own fault.  I’m trying to exercise simplicity this month.  It hasn’t kicked in quite yet but I keep trying.  The Olympics are not my fault.  I was disheartened to learn of doping scandals and  Rio venue issues but it’s still an impressive show.  If only I can get the network to play their recap of the day’s events earlier!  I’ve fallen asleep every night before something fun to see like the women’s gymnastic floor exercises and ultimately their gold medal.  Oh well, I guess that is what the Internet is for!

As for change in the air, that’s just it…it’s just a feeling.  Perhaps I’m too busy to really read the signs, but I felt like helping it along with some visual color change too.  I’ve had the same living room curtains since I moved in.  It’s probably been 10 years?  I’m not sure?  Time flies when you’re lazy to change your decor!

My original living room curtains were a black and white brocade.  I ended up putting them in my bedroom as well because I had several panels and no storage.  I thought black and white would be the perfect base to add additional accent colors throughout my tiny house but I never really did it?  Except for the kitchen where I added lots of red, I was pretty color lacking all over the place.  It’s time for a change!

I moved all of the brocade to the bedroom.  I’m now contemplating changing the blue accent.  I’ve had that as long as the black and white.  I’m thinking I need something else soon.

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To make my color change happen in the living room, I needed money but I lack that so I took to the world wide Internet to find inexpensive options.  I always loved tapestries and how beautiful they look hanging.  As I’m at a shopping mall all of the time, I was inspired by PBTeen’s use of them in their store displays.  Theirs were more expensive so Amazon afforded me to look and find what I liked.

I impulsively purchased 3 panels with bright colors of what I thought was mainly green.  Two days later I received my package and was surprised, not elated.  I had just rearranged the living room, took down the old curtains, called friends for moral support cause procrastination is my middle name, and I was ready for the new COLOR!  I unwrapped them and hung them.  I kept putting them up on all of the windows (there’s 4 in the living room).  I kept expecting that my taste would change with the color too?  My pals said they liked the curtains.  I said I liked the curtains, so I went to sleep with the boldest colors in my house that I’ve ever had in my life.  Red. Green. Orange.

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The next morning, I walked into my living room and sat down.  I convinced myself to live with it a bit longer…so by 12pm I ordered a new set of tapestries.  This time I looked for color but needed it to have some blue and not give me a seizure every time I saw them.  I was a bit gun shy cause I wasn’t exactly sure if the Internet  portrayed the colors correctly.  I had 2 light blue pillows actually.  The only color in the living room and I decided I liked them and wanted to figure out how to keep them.  With the red, green, orange version there was no way to keep them unless I wanted a circus theme.   Searching and searching, I settled on a deeper and more sophisticated bohemian color palette.

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The box arrived to my office and I was so excited to see what colors arrived.  I ordered a pattern with blues and some orange so I braced myself for bright purple and red.  I opened the box to lovely navy and royal blue with just the right amount of orange accents.  They were just what I wanted.  Now I had to wait the rest of the day to go home and put them up.

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When I got home, I removed my clown curtains.  I deemed them with that title for obvious reasons.  I eagerly hung the new ones in place.  They looked exactly right.  In this case, 2nd time was the charm!  I like the fresh new look for the room.  It’s rearranged and the curtains made enough of a statement that it squelched my desire to have new furniture which would be a lot more expensive to change!  For now, I’ll take a color change to refresh my environment and take me out of a writers block.  790 words later, I might have to change my curtains more often?

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Fun with Flags!

In honor of July 4th, I decided to decorate since the neighbors all have flags on their porch.  I didn’t think that attaching a flag holder to my porch was going to happen successfully so I got crafty.  I’ve seen flags banners all over and thought I might try making some of my own.  Here’s how I did mine.

imageFirst I went to the fabric store and picked up four different fabrics.  I chose patriotic themed fabrics with a red, white and blue color palette.  I got about 1/2 yard for each but it was a lot more than I needed.  I’ve been able to make about eight flag banners so some friends and family got some too since I only needed two.

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I also bought a white nylon rope that you can usually find in an upholstery section of the fabric store.  I measured the length that I wanted it to stretch at home and of course bought a lot more!

I had pinking sheers (those are the scissors that cut a zig zag edge), hot glue gun and glue sticks.  This was a no sew project.

Here’s my directions for this super simple project:

  1.  Cut a triangle template.  I used an Anthroplogie catalog cover cause it was heavier weight paper.   image
  2. Use the template to cut about 3 or 4 triangles of each fabric that you choose.  I cut them with scissors first with about a smidgen over the template (like 1/8″ maybe). image
  3. Once the triangles are cut out, trim each edge with the pinking sheers.  This will prevent the fabric from fraying and give a decorative edge to the flags.  image
  4. Cut four notches at the top of the flag wide enough to thread your string or rope throughimage
  5. Allow for a tail (maybe about 12″ or so), make your first knot.
  6. Thread one of the flags using the notches.  Tie a knot at the end so the flag doesn’t shift.image
  7. Tie the next knot about an inch or two away.  You decide how far away you want to place your flags on the rope.
  8. Repeat threading flags and tying knots at the beginning and end of each flag.image
  9. Alternate the fabrics all the way across.
  10. Once you’ve set the flags on your rope, use your glue gun or a fabric glue to tack the knots to the fabric to secure them.  I glued some of the rope in the middle too.image
  11. Hang your flag banners and have a party!

Happy Birthday America!

Here’s an example of them hanging at a friends house as well.

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People Make the Party and So Does Spinach!

Vegetables, not exactly healthy when mixed with cheese and put in a French bread loaf.  It makes for a great party dish though!

I wasn’t sure that I was going to make this as we had a ton of food already.  I showed this Pinterest pic of a yummy bread loaf with spinach dip to my friend Tracy and she said, “Get in that kitchen!  We need it!”  So I obeyed and the result was pretty amazingly yummy.  It was made with love, so that usually reduces the calories and we dove into it like cave men, so it’s “paleo”.

Recipe used was Stuffed Spinach Dip French Bread from Carlsbad Cravings.com on Pinterest.  Apparently it’s a retro recipe originally published in 1950 by Lipton on the back of the vegetable soup mix packet.

INGREDIENTS
1 loaf French bread
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained/patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use reduced-fat)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

i didn’t use the 1/2 chopped bell pepper or the paprika that the author uses.  I’m not a fan of either even though they add pretty color.  Since I wanted to eat it and not just look at it, I left them out of this recipe.

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take the middle of the bread out to create a bowl.  Set aside the bread.  I saved the bread that I cut out.
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Sauté the onions, then add the garlic.

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Add the spinach, pesto Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and mayonnaise.  Leave the heat on and mix thoroughly until the spinach is warm.  Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in sour cream, Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese until combined.

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When all is combined, place it in the bread bowl and spread mozzarella cheese over the top.

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Bake on a baking tray at 350 F degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.

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You’re supposed to let it sit for about five minutes before diving in, but I’m not sure those directions were followed?  We took it out of the oven and dug into it.  We tried to cut the bread but learned it would have been good to cut it all the way through before baking.  It was really tasty any way you slice or try to slice it.

Anyone else has a party dip bread loaf recipe?  Share it here and I’ll make it for the next gathering!  It’s just about Palm Springs season for the gang.

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Marma-Failed Oatmeal Cookies

This was the second time that I made these cookies but this time didn’t go as smoothly as the first.  So what this tells me…I should have documented the first batch for this blog!  Oh well, I didn’t.  I’m not perfect.  I still served the cookies at a party and people still ate them.  So what this tells me…don’t judge a cookie by its crumbled mess appearance.

I had a bunch of oatmeal that I wasn’t eating, so I decided to look for an oatmeal cookie recipe.  I originally wanted a recipe that would hold up like a thumbprint cookie so that I could put the Orange marmalade jam in the middle.  It didn’t quite work this way but they tasted good, so I consider it sort of successful?  But it was a bit of a Marma-failed oatmeal cookie batch.

I ended up adapting a Pinterest recipe for Apple Oatmeal Cookies but I didn’t add apples.  I’m sure it would be great if I followed exactly.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

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1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

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1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 and 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 medium apple (peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces). I didn’t use this.  Instead I used orange marmalade to top the cookies like a glaze.

Instructions from the livewell bake often recipe:

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla, making sure to mix well after each ingredient.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the oats, then the chopped apple until fully combined. (I left the apple out)

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Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.  I had the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours but for my warm house, I learned that it was better to freeze the dough.  My second batch was baked with frozen dough and they came off the cookie sheet without difficulty.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silipat mat.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop two tablespoon sized pieces of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.

I cut slices and cut the dough in half to place on cookie sheets.  I added marmalade like a glaze on top.  This made a yummy topping.

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Those cookies really melted onto the sheet so next I tried balls, then made an indent for the marmalade to have a well.  That still all melted too much into the cookie sheet.

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Baked at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish.  Easier said than done.  In any case, these cookies tasted great and I still put them out for everyone to munch on.  There wasn’t any left, so nobody minded that the weren’t perfect.  So even if they failed to look pretty, they weren’t a complete failure cause they were very edible!  Just make sure your dough is very cold, if not frozen when you go to bake.

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Let Them Eat Cake!

I love celebrating happy occasions with family and friends!  Who doesn’t, right?  Every Valentine’s Day has been special since I met my friend John, as that was the day he was born (25 year ago – wink, wink).

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Actually, as we get older, I really do think we are getting better with age.  I know it’s a common phrase but it applies to us!  With life experiences each year, I think we’ve grown and learned what we need in our lives.  With age, I edit what doesn’t matter as much and hold closer what does.

For this celebration, I realized that being with friends was what mattered and holding a candle lit cake close to me while walking with it towards a birthday boy is a little like being in a mini emergency.

The Birthday song was sung quickly while the birthday guy extinguished his cake with a breath of wishes (all of which I hope are coming true!)

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John’s birthday cake was adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Victorian Sponge recipe in her book, How To Be a Domestic Goddess.

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Victorian Sponge

For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups self rising cake flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 8×2 inch cake pans (about 2 inches deep), buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper.  I didn’t have any parchment or wax paper so I had to just butter and flour my pans.

For the filling:

2 – 4 tablespoons raspberry or other jam, depending on berries.  I really varied this cause I used my homemade orange marmalade.
1/2 pint raspberries or berries of choice.  I could only find strawberries and blueberries so that’s what was used!
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the topping:

1 – 2 tablespoons sugar

So because I had never made this cake before, I tried to follow it very carefully.  I followed Nigella’s direction for the traditional way.  So, to start, you cream the butter and sugar, add vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour between each.  Fold in the rest of the flour and the cornstarch, adding no baking powder, and when all is incorporated, add a little milk as you need.

Continue reading Let Them Eat Cake!

Quilt Imposter

I got a bit busy lately but there’s been some good stuff that I’ve been doing!  I went to QuiltCon!  It was a quilting convention down the street in Pasadena at the convention center, so I didn’t have to travel far.  A friend of mine went the first day and managed to get us free passes for the next day.  We decided to check it out and see what we could see.  There were a few of the stereotypical ladies with a quilted cat tote bag, but we found other women and some men of all ages.  Unlike myself, I think most actively quilt though.

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I have to tell you that I’ve only quilted one very bad looking small blanket that I gave as a baby gift.  Luckily I actually don’t see that person anymore, so my embarrassment over the project doesn’t have to be relived every time I see them.  As an attendee of the QuiltCon, I came across lots of people with incredible enviable skills.  I didn’t belong, but I was determined to ooh and awe over the fabrics and the work without being detected.

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The convention had classes and lectures but being an imposter, I honestly wasn’t sure what the topics were about and we got so excited over the showroom of fabric and vendors that we went to spend most of our time there.

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This machine…I call it the Big Cheater because it basically embroidered and did all of the work for you.  It was probably as big as my house and cost as much as my car, so even though it would have instantly elevated my non-existent skills in the quilt area, it was not coming home with me.  Bye Big Cheater.

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Lots of samples were on display to make sure I knew I was inferior to all of experts at each booth.

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After visiting every booth and nervously dodging one that we would had to create a square for a charity quilt, we made our way to the exhibits.  This was where the competitors were and some special exhibits.  I was excited over the ribbons they gave.  They were custom fabric ribbons.  I got so excited that I didn’t really take any good pictures of them?  Next time.

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My favorite exhibit was a group of quilts be Molly Upton.  She sadly only lived for 23 years and these quilts were from the 70s.  I loved her mix of fabrics and her designs were ahead of her time.  She was an amazing artist who I would never had known of if I didn’t attend QuiltCon.  It was worth every minute as the imposter.

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If you have a quilt convention in your area and you value the artistry of quilts, it’s worth a visit.  I was amazed at the variety of quilts and the products available.  Not sure if I will find quilting in my hobbies, but I’ll pretend again to attend another QuiltCon!

Orange You Glad I Made Marmalade!

I’m not sure what possessed me?  I have always wanted to be that person with homemade jars of stuff on their shelves.  Perhaps it was all that watching of Little House on the Prairie and my love of Anne of Green Gables (especially the story where Anne makes her best friend drunk with currant wine instead of raspberry cordial!).  It seems that people just knew how to make everything and preserve it.   I decided that I’ve seen and read plenty of inspirational movie scenes and books to create my own award winning jar of marmalade.

My experiment started with putting on State Fair, the 1945 version with Jeanne Crain.  The mother, played by Fay Bainter, creates fair ribbon winning pickles!  I figured the skill and talent would ooze from the screen to my fingertips.  As the musical sung in the background, I opened my Better Homes Canning magazine and got all of my supplies ready.  I was happily set for success as I sang “It’s a Grand Day for Canning”! (Sorry for those that don’t get the musical reference)

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I must tell you that just getting my supplies was a challenge for this event.  I don’t think we have a lot of people canning in Pasadena?  Or maybe there are tons and they purchased all of the supplies?  I ended up at four different stores before I found my basic supplies at OSH hardware.  I purchased a basic kit from Ball which seemed like a good idea as the same items were used in the magazine.  I also got a canning pot with a rack, oh and of course half pint jars.  I went with half pint because I just couldn’t think of anyone eating a pint of marmalade?

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I decided to follow the directions in the magazine cause these people were pretty convincing that they knew what they were doing or at least knew a lot more than me.  I also talked the plans through with a couple of friends that were equally unqualified as me, so I was completely ready for this.

Here’s the marmalade recipe ingredients:

4 medium oranges (I used a Cara Cara navel orange from trees from my friend Lucas)  They are a beautiful pink orange so they made a beautiful marmalade color.

1 medium lemon

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

5 cups sugar

1/2 of a 6 ounce package (1 foil pouch) liquid fruit pectin  (I had a 1.75 oz of pectin in a foil pouch so I think next time I will buy and use more pectin.  I had a foil pouch of fruit pectin though, so I’m counting this as a win!)

I began pretending that I was a pioneer woman and multi tasked my process.  I washed my dozen half pint jars and placed them in my canner on the stove to boil and sterilize.  As these were taking forever to boil, I began prepping my lemon and oranges.

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Step 1. (From the magazine). Using a paring knife, score the peel of each orange and lemon into four lengthwise sections; remove peels with your fingers.  Scrape off the white portions of peels with the knife; cut peels into very thin strips.  In a saucepan combine peel strips, 1 1/2 cups water, and the baking soda.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not drain.

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I prepped and cut ingredients before I put anything into a saucepan.  I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to do step 2 so I thought I better have the oranges cut and ready before.  I worked with the lemon first and realized that I should prep the fruit like my dad taught me for fruit salad.  Scraping the white portion of peel wasn’t quite working, so I cut a thin layer off when I started the oranges.  I mangled my lemon but was hoping that wouldn’t make a ton of difference.

I uncrossed my fingers and began step 2.

Step 2. (from the magazine).  Cut away any white portions on oranges and lemon.  Working over a bowl to catch the juice, section oranges and lemon; discard seeds.  Stir orange and lemon sections and juice into peel mixture.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

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Cutting with a sharp paring knife made the job pretty easy.  I had super dull stupid knives before Christmas so thanks to my parents this project was not a cutting frustration.

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Sectioning the oranges is a little time consuming but you just slide the knife before and after the segments of the fruit.  As you can see, once I remembered how my dad showed me, I had the method down.

After I had all of my cutting prep work complete, I began cooking items per the directions.

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Step 3.  (From the magazine).  Transfer fruit mixture to an 8 to 10 quart heavy pot; stir in sugar.  Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Quickly stir in pectin.  Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.

imageI wasn’t sure what to expect with the foam?  But like magic, foam appeared and I followed the directions and skimmed it off the top as quickly as I could with a metal spoon.  (I felt a little like Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom when he makes Chinese food.  If you don’t know this reference, watch this hilarious movie!)

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Step 4. (From the magazine).  Ladle hot marmalade into hot sterilized half pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.

So while all this marmalade cooking and foam collecting was going on, I had jars boiling and sterilizing on the stove.  I removed them with my jar lifter and placed them on a kitchen towel on the table.  Using the funnel, I ladled marmalade into the jars until it reached almost the top.  The first rim of the jar is 1/4 inch according to my ruler and the magazine directions.  You don’t want any air in the jar so you have to release bubbles if there are any.

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I was unable to snap pictures of the ladling and lid tightening because I needed both of my hands.  I could have used more hands but I think I’ll just be happy I don’t have more and can’t be the freak at the circus.   Maybe I’ll invite a friend to help next time and they can be covered in sticky marmalade like myself and the kitchen.  I had no idea how that marmalade ended up on shelves and body parts but my jars were very clean!

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Step 5. (From the magazine).  Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling).  Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.  Let stand at room temperature for two weeks before serving.  Makes 6 half pints.

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I think I spent about 4 hours and made 5 half pints!  It said it would take 55 mins prep time and 20 mins cook time, but because I was no expert…it took me forever.  I also didn’t want to deviate from the directions not even to double the recipe to make more jars.  I figured I’d learn from this first time and be able to increase my quantity later.  It definitely seems you’d want to make more in the batch if you’re going through the trouble of home canning.

None of the steps were difficult but there were a few things that I was unsure of such as wiping the jars?  I used a new clean paper towel each time.  My next plan is to chat with people that have more knowledge and gain their handy hints for my next attempt.  Each of my can lids popped, so they say that’s success in the home canning process.  If the lid doesn’t bulge, I think I’m not in danger of killing anybody.  To be safe, I’ll tell any marmalade recipient to eat it quickly just in case!  Wish me luck with the next batch and if you’re an avid canner, leave your tips in the comments.  Thanks and happy canning.

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Sparkling Strawberries

A friend of mine had a few friends over recently.  Several of us haven’t seen each other since before Early December so there was much need to celebrate and catch up!  Since there were New Years resolutions and health conscious goals, I tried to find something to bring that was celebratory without being super rich like chocolate cake.  I found a recipe for Champagne Strawberries and adapted it a little.

This is an easy recipe but it’s not quick.  Allow at least a day to prepare.  I started with a basket of strawberries, roughly two dozen.  I washed them, dried them and put them into jars.

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Here’s the hardest part…I opened a bottle of sparkling wine and poured it over each jar of strawberries to fully cover them.  Try not to drink any until you’ve covered all of your strawberries.  (I ended up using the whole bottle for my three jars.)

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I put them in the refrigerator and soaked them for about 24 hours.

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The next day, I took the strawberries out of the jar and patted them dry.  I made a simple glaze.  I didn’t love it but it was ok for this time.  I just did powdered sugar, couple of teaspoons of milk and some vanilla extract. The recipe called for frosting in a can which I’m not a fan of.  I made the glaze just to drizzle over the berries.  It didn’t look as pretty as the frosting pics but it tasted good.

I tried one of the strawberries immediately from the jar and determined that if you can serve these immediately they would be best cause they retain some of the fizziness so it’s a fun bite.  If you can’t, they still are tasty.

I drizzled the glaze over the berries and sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles.  Rainbow sprinkles cover a mulitude of imperfections such as the berries not being completely in season!  Since the berries were soaked in booze and covered in glaze, it didn’t matter that they weren’t the sweetest on their own.  Place each berry on a cupcake wrapper and ta-da!  Super easy and looks sort of fancy.

has sugar and sparkling wine so it’s not really in the healthy category, but I’ll say it’s a win cause it’s way healthier than something else I could have made.

Find yourself a reason to celebrate and make these boozy berries sometime soon.

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