Beginning of the End

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well, it's finally happened, I have hit the final year of my 30's. My birthday was this last week and to say it was interesting is being subtle. I planned to take my birthday off because, who freakin' wants to work on their birthday and also because Chako the pit bull rescue that I occasionally volunteer for was having an adoption event and I agreed to volunteer to help. Well, since it's been raining non-stop crazy here for what seems the last 8 months, the event was cancelled since it was in a park, so I was stuck with no plans, no money and nothing to do. I spent the day on my couch watching bad movies streamed through Netflix with my dogs and a nice fire while it poured outside.

Husband had to work all day and needed to stop at the store after work, so by the time he got home, I was bored senseless and had no idea what was going on. I was surprised with a bunch of flowers, which was my second batch of flowers I have gotten from him this year and is twice the amount of flowers I have ever received from him so it was an extra pleasant surprise. He had bought all sorts of groceries for the mystery party that was being planned between him and the bestie for Saturday, and was ready to call it a day. I asked him what the plan for dinner was and the darling that he is, had no plans because all his planning abilities were being used for the Saturday shin-dig so I think I ended up having popcorn for dinner and a fruity rum drink chaser. LOL!

Canning day

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recently I spent a day putting yummy ingredients into jars. I spent way too much money on ingredients but made some new and fun stuff. First up was bacon jam. Anyone who knows me knows I don't like bacon but husband does so this was all for him. It all starts out by slicing up a bunch of bacon and getting it nice and crispy.

It takes a while, but once crispy you remove the bacon from the pan to let it sit while you saute some onions.

After the onions are all nice and soft, you add the rest of your ingredients which include brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon. Add your bacon back into the mixture to bring to a boil then add to a crockpot to let it sit and simmer for about 4 hours to cook down into bacony goodness.

My next adventure was to make a hard cider jelly using Fox Barrel's Black Currant cider. I had found the recipe on another fabulous blog and thought it would be yummy.

It was a fairly standard jelly using low sugar pectin and it turned out scrumptious! It's not too sweet and has a very delicate taste. I have discovered I really enjoy eating it on toasted home made rosemary bread. Combined with your morning coffee and it makes for a great start to your day and it looks so pretty in the jar too!

Once the hard cider jelly was finished, I whipped out a batch of red wine jelly that has come in quite handy for hors d'oeurves.

Next up was something I wasn't planning on making, but thought "what the heck?" and did it anyway. I pulled some pomegranate seeds I had from the freezer and decided to do a pomegranate jelly.

A great friend of mine has a huge pomegranate tree in her backyard and every year she gives me a very large bag filled with this delectable fruit. I spend hours hunched over bowls elbow deep into shucking pomegranates to get those small morsels of ruby goodness. Having spent so much time harvesting these tasty nuggets, I felt it was only proper to make them into a jelly. Armed with my handy Ball canning book, a big bowl, strainer and a Cuisinart, I got to work. I was able to get just enough juice out of the seeds to make one batch of jelly.

Unfortunately, the jelly didn't set and had to be re-processed the next day, but it turned out awesome! A light pomegranate taste to it that is absolutely divine.

It was a long day of canning, but well worth it as my pantry now has many more jars of goodness that have been added to it. I can't wait for summer for all the fruits and veggies, I even have a good hook-up this year for free stuff. Husband and I will probably have to trade some dinners but it's well worth it.

The sum of my day...

But wait, there's more! You didn't think I would finish with just that? I had bacon left over from the jam and I just couldn't let it go to waste, so I smothered it in brown sugar and cayenne pepper and candied it in the oven for husband to enjoy.

Until next time, happy canning!

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