Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hot Pepper Jelly

We were at our local Farmer's Market about a month ago. There was a woman there selling Hot Pepper Jelly, so of course I sampled it! It was absolutely delicious! Since that day I have often thought about the jelly, talked about the jelly, searched for recipes, etc. Last night I finally got off my bum and made the jelly! I was pretty surprised at how easy it was.

You can use either green or red peppers...or I guess if you wanted to you could use orange, purple or yellow. I have never seen anyone use them, I have only seen green and red. I prefer the red. It's a little sweeter, in my opinion.

Here is the recipe I used:

1/4 c chopped jalapenos
3/4 c chopped sweet peppers
6 c sugar
2 1/2 c cider vinegar
2 3oz pouches of liquid pectin
A few drops of red or green food coloring *optional*

1. Run the jalapenos and sweet peppers in a blender or food processor until they are finely ground. Combine with sugar and vinegar in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.


2. Strain, returning the liquid to the saucepan. Add about 2 tablespoons of pepper mixture from the strainer. (here is where I would have strayed a bit from the recipe, I would have just kept it all in there. I like a little more of the "pieces" in the jelly). Return to a boil. Add pectin and the food coloring if you're using it. Bring back to a boil one more time and boil for 1 minute.


Ladle into freshly sterilized jelly jars with two-part canning lids, leaving 1/8 inch headroom, and seal. Process in boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.

This recipe makes about 6 8oz jars.

Happily it was totally set today at lunch time so we opened a jar, got out the cream cheese, dry salami and crackers and had a snack lunch. Between Chris, Maggie and I, we were pretty happy with the taste. The jelly is a bit sweet, I will add a bit more of the jalapeno ribs/seeds next time for just a tad bit more heat.


Can't wait to serve this at Thanksgiving and see what everyone else thinks!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

A great giveaway! I'm actually going to join in on this one. I don't normally join in on the giveaways because, well, I never win. But this one is just too good to pass up! Whoever wins this is a lucky, lucky person!

TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
D-10 Dehydrator with Stainless Steel Shelves With Timer, Reebok Easytone Paprika!, Japanese Cast Iron Tea Pot, Warm, Soft Pj's, Trip to the Spa

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
Quilt made by my grandmother

3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
Knitting, anything!

4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
My horse, Tubbs. Totally unexpected.

5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
So far anything she has seen on a commercial. Barbie....anything, Dress up clothes

6. What is your favorite holiday food?
Homemade Eggnog, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Pie, Cake, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Hot Apple Cider.

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
Lots of baking going on in our house.

8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
Christmas Vacation

9. Favorite holiday song?
Thats hard, I like them all! Rockin' around the Christmas Tree is a peppy, fun one!

10. Favorite holiday pastime?
Decorating the yard with my husband and daughter

Thank you to Jenafer for joining in on this so the rest of us could see it!

What are you still doing here? Go check it out and enter!! :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Every night we play a half hour of board games. Tonight was Chutes and Ladders. As usual we had a blast. Even though this is an older game, can you believe I have never played it? We had a lot of fun. I am so proud of how Maggie is really "getting" playing games. We have tried to play board games before, but taking turns was always a big issue. It seems like something has "clicked" in the last couple of months and we are really enjoying our games at night.

I promised Maggie that we would make some special Hot Cocoa tonight after our game time and of course she didn't forget! This is a new recipe to me. I have an old tried and true one, but can't seem to find it. Although it's a simple recipe, it's been awhile since I have made it. Anyway, here is the recipe we tried tonight. It was pretty good.

•3/4 cup powdered milk
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•3/4 cup sugar
•1/2 cup cocoa powder
•4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Take the bittersweet chocolate and roughly chop it up to give a chunky but consistent size. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then store in a dry airtight container.

To make the hot chocolate, simply add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of milk per 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix. Heat in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat until hot, but do not boil, about 6 to 7 minutes.

If the look on her face tells you anything, she enjoyed it!


I did have an absolute "fail" this weekend. I have been craving pumpkin ravioli's for a couple weeks now. I got sick and that pushed it off. Then I have been a little busy and time just hasn't been on my side so I haven't wanted to put the energy into making pasta. Well, I thought the other night when I was watching Giada on Food Network that "my sign" flashed in front of me when she was making ravioli's and said that a "short cut" is to use Won ton Wrappers. She was making them on her show and they looked great. If Giada can do it, why can't I? Right? WRONG! The first thing that was wrong is the Won ton Wrappers are just way too thin. Highly disappointing to this Italian gal. Not at all "ravioli like". The second "fail" was the pumpkin recipe itself. Chris and Maggie were really sweet. They tried (after I told them I would NOT be offended if they didn't like them) to eat them. Maggie took two bites and Chris ate about 3. Pretty bad. I did a lot of work to make the filling. Cooked a pumpkin and everything! Oh well, live and learn right? Every recipe can't be good, can they?

All my hard work was for nothing.


But, we did get these:


They will be turned into a nice tasty treat tomorrow!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

I absolutely love, love, love this recipe! And better yet, Chris liked it too! He has "texture issues" and pumpkin is a hard one for him. But this was a hit for both of us! Finally, a pumpkin treat we will all enjoy! Trust me, my picture doesn't do it any justice!

Easy Pumpkin Crumble
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 boxed yellow or white cake mix (I used yellow)
1-2 sticks butter (see notes in instructions)
1 16 oz can pumpkin*
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 C chopped pecans (a certain little person in my house ate all my pecans so I sub'd with walnuts. It was good but pecans would be better)
1/2 t additional cinnamon for topping

*This makes a dessert about an inch thick or less. This makes it a high topping to pumpkin ration. I figured this was best since Chris isn't wild about pumpkin. If you'd like it thicker, use a large can of pumpkin and double the rest of the filling ingredients (Eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices). Leave the rest of the recipe the same.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place 2 C of the cake mix in a bowl. Cut in 3 T chilled butter. Just use your fingers to crumble the butter until it's in small crumbly pieces. Place mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and press flat with your fingers.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices until smooth. Pour on top of the cake mixture in the pan.

Now take the rest of the dry cake mix and mix in 1/2 t cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a measuring cup so you have a rough measurement of how much you're putting on. Here's why:

Apparently cake mixes all have different amounts of ingredients in them. Different brands, different flavors, etc. Each mix is slightly different in volume. Measuring the amount of cake mix you're sprinkling on top will help you get the perfect topping ratio in the last step. I used a yellow Betty Crocker Super Moist mix. I thought it worked great.

Next sprinkle on the chopped pecans. You'll have 3 distinct layers now:

Here's the trick: For every 1 C of cake mix you sprinkled on top, you'll need 3 T of melted butter. Drizzle it right on top.

That butter is going to combine with the cake mix and make magic in the oven. Pop it in your 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or so. A knife should come out without globs of pumpkin on it and the topping should be nice and golden.

I had my first piece (yes, I had more than one! I was doing research...checking to see when it was at it's best!) when it first came out of the oven piping hot, room temp or chilled in the fridge.
When I had my second (and last piece for the night!) I put a dollop of Clover Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream on, since I didn't have any whipping cream. Either way it was delicious!

If you like this recipe, please leave a comment here, and maybe pop on over to Our Best Bites to let Sara and Kate know you like their awesome goodie! You will NOT be disappointed by their blog. I am chomping at the bit to make their individual jar pies......


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

He never gives us more than we can handle, right?

Today was my husbands official last day of work. We have known about this since Sept. Chances are it will sell (its been for sale, several people are interested) and he will get his job back. But still, it's a bummer. This job was ideal for us. It was 6 minutes from our house, the hours were perfect, the perks were great and he was just really, really happy working there. I think he is more bummed that he was leaving a job he loved more than the fact he is without a job. He and his manager became quick, close friends. He got a long with everyone there. I hope it sells soon and reopens. It makes my heart happy to send my husband off for 8 hours of our day to a place he is happy at.
On a better note, he does have another job if/when he decides to take it. When the news broke out the resort was closing his old boss called and said he has room for Chris and would love to have him back. I take great comfort in knowing that we have that offer. I feel bad for the 600+ people who worked at the resort that may not have something to fall back on.

Happier garden is doing great. I can't wait to start eating from it! Soon! Very soon! I took some pictures about a week ago. Excuse the fact that i'm a bit behind on my weeding. Whatever made me sick kicked my butt...but i'm ready now to fight those unwanted garden invaders!

My butter lettuce looks so pretty!

I've never grown Brussels Sprouts before. I am impatiently waiting to see what happens.

Swiss of my all time favorites!

I am absolutely loving growing my garden. I have been plotting and planning how, what and where for my Spring garden.

The chicken coop is done! YEAY! The girls started staying out in their palace last week. They LOVE it. And not only do I love it because they do, I love it because we have our master bathroom back! Even though its the 3 of us, I am so spoiled having that second bathroom!

Here are a few shots of the girls on their maiden voyage to the big wooden box in our garage they now call home!

Checking out their new digs!

And, Mary Virginia (or as Maggie calls her Mary Baginia) doing what the girls do every morning the door opens. Runs over to greet whoever is standing there for the game of "here I am, catch me if you can". They really remind me of Kramer on Seinfeld. You know how the door would swing open and he would stumble in. He just had that "look", well the girls have that same look!

I am so thankful we built the coop in the garage. I know we have mountain lions, coyotes, raccoons, etc. But there is one very large Coyote that is showing up more and more. I just feel so much better that our little lovies are safe, inside.

And last, but certainly not least. A picture of Maggie. She worked so hard with her dad to get the coop finished. When it was time to get the chickens she and I got out the pine shaving and she spread them around inside while her dad was collecting our feathered friends. I turned around to grab something, it was less than a minutes time and I hear, "look mama! I'm making snow angels". The deed was done, I let her do it. She had a blast. I had a heck of a mess to clean up!


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