jammin’

I’m exhausted.  Spent Saturday at MIL’s house canning . . . all day.

Yellow plums, blueberries, and blackberries.

pints – 8
12oz jars – 12 (one case)
1/2 pints – 24 (two cases)
4oz jars – 10

This was something like 8 batches of jam, of which one batch of plum preserves was done on Friday night, the rest were done on Saturday.  What was I thinking?

MIL, hubby, the kids and I went up to MIL’s place on Whidbey Island on Friday because she has a wonderfully large kitchen and because the yellow plums were ripe.  The plum tree is on a piece of property she is selling, so, if we wanted yellow plums this was possiblily the last chance and if we waited another week we would most likely have missed them.  So we went.  Hubby and kids picked plums and blackberries and I started canning.

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Saturday morning I decided I didn’t have enough to do so Bug and I headed out to the Farmers’ Market and ended comming back with some lovely Alpaca and four flats of blueberries.  (Sorry, Emma, no young strapping farmers this time.)  Four flats!?  Yes, four flats of blueberries.  When Bug started talking about making jam, after we had bought one flat, the woman at the booth offered us three more flats at $1 each.  Umm, yes please!  The flats had to be sorted but 2/3 of the berries were good and MIL and Bug sorted while I kept canning.

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Hubby took MIL and Bubba home around 6pm, Bug and I stayed and kept going.  Bug was quite a trooper, she helped mash blueberries, brought me more jars, and kept me company.

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Toward the end I was putting the jam into largers jars, forget those 4oz gift jars, hand me the pints.  While the last batch was in the steam canner we loaded the car and cleaned.  The last batch came out of the canner at about 11:20 and were on the midnight ferry comming home, along with 10 other cars.

So, if you know me personally, it is very possible that you will be getting jam for the holidays.

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what a weekend

The weekend started on Friday with Knit Night at Village Yarn & Tea.  Not only was it Knit Night, but it was Pajama Party Knit Night with the Yarn Pirate.  She created a special colorway called Village using the shop’s colors and I got caught up in the hysteria (they were handing out numbers for selecting YP yarn, limit two skeins until everyone had a chance, no kidding) and purchased not only the Village colorway, but also Crocus.

I met up there with several knitting friends; Debi, Emma, Amy, and met a new friend, Sam.  I forgot my camera, so, no pics from that night, sorry.  

Emma was spinning silk hankies that she had hand dyed, it was so cool to watch her . . . poke a hole . . . pull . . . stretch . . . abuse the silk . . . then spin . . . amazing! 

Amy brought her whole polymer clay set up so people could make buttons for the wristbands for the Breast Cancer 3-day Walk, I didn’t get a chance to make one and I wish I had now.  Amy also brought in some pink ribbon stitch markers and all the money from the sale of the markers goes to the same project, I bought one and it has already been put to use on my current knitting project.

Saturday is the regular knitting group at noon-ish, Emma and I decided to bring our wheels and this is what I was able to get spun while there.

 

Kim brought in roving she had hand dyed for the shop, some of it ended up comming home with me.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.

 

That evening and Sunday I spent time working on the Saddle Shoulder Sweater for Bubba, but I took a break and made these for the kids for lunch.

 

No, I didn’t make Twinkies for lunch, they’re corndogs made in a Twinkie pan – Twinkiedogs!  The kids love them.  Make up a batch of your favorite cornbread batter, fill pan about 1/2 way and push 1/2 of a bun length hotdog (I use kosher hotdogs, I like to think they have fewer lips and tails in them) most of the way into the batter, the batter will rise up to cover the hotdog.

how could that be?

The bread has been cut and toasted for the stuffing and the pumpkin pie is in the oven.  Because of Bubba’s diet I can’t just buy these things anymore, like I used to.  Oh, well, it’s not hard, just a bit of time.

While getting ready to make the pie I had a bit of a shock.  I don’t own a 9″ pie pan!  How can that be?  I’ve make pies before and I know I had a 9″ pie pan, but, tonight, no 9″ pie pan.  I sent hubby out to find a 9″ pie pan.  Yeah, right, the night before Thanksgiving, good luck on that one.  All he could find was a 9 1/2″, so that’s what he brought home and that’s what I used.  The only trouble it that the 9 1/2″ pie pan is meant for deep dish pie.  It’s not going to be pretty, but, hey, it’s pie.

life's a beach

After making jam on Sunday, I woke up on Monday morning with a need to bake.   So, I made some zucchini bread with an 8-ball zucchini from the garden. 

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The pans are from Ikea and they produce a longer, narrower bread.  That is nice, because it gives you a smaller piece and the bread seems to last longer, and really the kids don’t need a huge slice.

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Yesterday, the kids and I headed down to the beach at the Mukilteo Ferry Landing.  There was lots of splashing in the water,

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throwing of rocks into said water and searching for sealife (crabs, muscles, jellies, etc),

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climbing on the rocks and driftwood,

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and watching trains (with airplanes on them!) go by.

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jamin'

This morning we all headed out to the Everett Farmers’ Market.  I love a good farmers’ market, it is so much fun to see what will be there as it grows each week.  We came home with some Rainier cherries from Tiny’s Organics, apricots, whole wheat pitas and hummus and baklava from the Pita King Bakery, flowers . . .

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and there were berries everywhere . . . tayberries, loganberries, blueberries, marionberries, and RASPBERRIES . . .

 

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I love raspberry jam so a 1/2 flat came home with us.  I need to plant some raspberry canes in the back yard, nothing like going out and eating them fresh off the canes.

When we got home I sent Hubby into the garage to pull out my canning supplies and I pulled out the canning books and looked for a recipe for raspberry jam without pectin,  I didn’t have any pectin in the house and really didn’t want to run out to the store again.  I did find a recipe in The Ball Blue Book without pectin and as a bonus it  used more fruit than sugar, usually it’s the other way around.  Bug helped mash the berries and stir in the sugar, but when it started getting too hot I made her ‘Offical Jam Superviser’, at a safe distance.

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Apparently, I need a new candy thermometer.  Bubba like to take it out of the drawer and play with it.  It isn’t registering temperatures correctly so I had to judge the gel point by the sheet method.  I suck at this, I so prefer the thermometer.  After (hopefully) reaching the gel point I filled the jars and got them into the steam canner, with out too many burns.  I love my steam canner, I know some don’t approve of them, but they are so much faster than the water bath.  We got up a good head of steam and waited.

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Now comes the best part, clean up, also known as licking of the spoons.

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For our effort we have 6 1/2 jars of fresh yummy jam.

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* Yes, those are my lovely harvest gold counter tops. Don’t laugh, they match the oven.

domestic day

Yesterday ended up being quite a domestic day for me.  I as looking thru the new Everyday Food and decided I needed to poach up some chicken breasts.  I know a strange thing to need to do, but I cooked up a bunch of chicken breasts, chopped or shredded and put them away so I can have cooked chicken ready to go for use in recipes. 

While the chicken was poaching I decided to make soup for lunch . . . yummy I love homemade soup.  So the kids and I had home made soup and homemade bread for lunch.

Oh, yeah, I made Swope Bread Wednesday night, from a recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat flour bag, not to bad for a quick bread, not as light as a yeasted bread, but so much easier.

As I was getting ready to make dinner I was looking in the ‘frig and saw a tube of Grands-style biscuits that needed to be used so I made turnovers with the chopped chicken I had cooked up earlier, frozen veggies and some leftover cheese sauce from the night before.

Now, don’t go thinking this happens every day at my house . . . ha, not even close, but I have been on a bit of a domestic run lately.

dinner

Made Skillet Suprise for dinner, tonight’s was:

1lb ground beef
partial package pre-sliced mushrooms
28oz can diced tomatoes
tomatoe paste
15oz can garbanzo beans
~1/2cup brown rice
~1cup water
Italian Seasoning

 Hey, the kids actually ate it!

cookie time

Daughter and Son received a Hanukkah cookie kit from Hubby’s brother and his family. I told Daughter if she helped me clean up the kitchen we could make cookies. Heck, she turned out to be quite a helper, so we made cookies.

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The kits are pretty cute, they include a cookie mix and a cookie cutter, and they don’t taste half bad either. The only thing I would do differently is to refrigerate the dough for a little while before rolling and cutting.