Surprises come in all forms, and I’ve experienced many just recently.
Surprise # 1
Most notably for me, someone who is pretty much clueless when it comes to technology, the change on my website. I didn’t create a new post for, like ……….. 3 weeks, and they change the format (Is that what it’s called?) without asking me first?
Not cool! I’m an “old dog” ya know, and not very well versed in “new tricks.” Just when I was becoming an expert on my own site, it seems as if they changed EVERYTHING. 🙁
I’ve been working on this post, for what seems like, forever because I am having trouble navigating the changes. “Aggravated” doesn’t fully describe my frame of mind but, a few choice words come to that same mind. 🙂
And …….. I can’t find the “Spell Check” button. Argggg!
It’s going to take me awhile. Patience, Katy …………
Surprise # 2
I would have preferred to spend last weekend in my new favorite t-shirt, (compliments of my friend, Trudy), curled up on the chaise with a hot beverage, eating (not baking – explanation forthcoming), Christmas cookies and watching my favorite channel but, ahhhhh, it was not in the cards for me.
If you have been following me, you know that my favorite channel, especially this time of year, is the Hallmark channel. Both the regular channel and the mystery channel!
I have a friend, Trudy, that lives in Ohio, who also loves the Hallmark Channel and, although we don’t see each other very often, when we get together it’s like we’ve never been apart.
Trudy and I met, and became fast friends, when our daughters ice skated competitively for the Oxford Ice Crystals. It was a club consisting of multiple levels of synchronized skating teams, which their home base was the rink on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Trudy and I spent many hours together over the course of 11 years. We probably spent most of those years discussing the Hallmark Channel programming. I’m just kidding of course, however, we both share the same obsession.
Out of the blue, with no warning, this showed up in in my mailbox. 🙂
Love me some Trudy.
Surprise # 3
Poo and I spent last weekend running errands and making sure I had all of the supplies needed for our annual hot pepper jelly canning event. This year was quite the success, I might add.
You might remember from my “How Do You Use Your Jalapeños?” post, I stated that I wanted to grow red peppers in my garden this year so I could make Red Jalapeno Jelly. The last several years I have been making Green Jalapeno Jelly and although it’s been very good, I thought the red would be more festive to give away for the holidays.
In the spring, I planted a total of 13 pepper plants, four of which were green and, in all, I had four different varieties. Two of the green pepper plants and one red pepper plant succumbed to summer related elements but, because I planted so many, I still reaped the rewards.
Those rewards were huge. Over two gallons of rewards!
We started the canning process on Sunday afternoon about 1:00 and six hours later we had canned 57 jars of various pepper jelly. All but 7 jars were the, ohhh so pretty, color of red. The other seven jars were green in color.
I say “we” because I could not have managed to can that many jars without the help of Poo. While I was preparing the next batch of jelly and getting them in the jars, he is presiding over the canning process. It goes so much faster with his help.
Working at such a brisk pace, and four batches later, I suddenly realized I hadn’t made any medium or mild heat jelly. I was mixing up the batches with such enthusiasm that I forgot to take the seeds out of the peppers. But ……… what the heck ……….. hot pepper jelly is supposed to be just that, HOT. Right?
After I had used up all of the red peppers, I decided to keep going and make a batch of Green Jalapeño Jelly. I figured, at that point, if I went to all the trouble of canning and making such a big mess, I might as well do it all at once, and if we had started earlier in the day, I would have canned more jars.
After I cleaned up the kitchen and had everything put away, I found this hiding in the very back of my freezer ……………
But, the real surprise of the day was something I tried “off the cuff.”
I’m calling it, “Cranberry Christmas Jam.” It’s the perfect blend of cranberry flavor with just the right amount of heat. Neither ingredient overpowering the other. You first taste the burst of cranberry and, then comes the heat. Perfect.
It really is fantastic, as is, right out of the jar. Yep, just a spoon and your mouth. However, try it on toast, turkey sliders, or any sliders for that matter. Or with cream cheese and crackers.
My creative experiment came about because of a recipe I found on Pinterest about two years ago, and although it was good, it really didn’t deliver the balanced blend of the two major ingredients. My brother, Dan, told me it was really good but not quite hot enough. He was right, it wasn’t noteworthy.
This one is …………. I promise.
Cranberry Christmas Jam
- 6 c. fresh cranberries (2 small bags)
- 12 oz. red jalapeños, seeded
- juice from 2 limes or 1 healthy squeeze of key lime juice
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. apple cider vinegar
- 4 c. sugar
- 2 pouches of liquid pectin
Prepare approximately 9 – 1/2 pint jars and lids according to canning directions. (You will prepare this recipe much like my jalapeno jelly recipe) In batches, blend cranberries, peppers, water and apple cider. Put blended mixture in a pan, on the stove and add sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add pectin and return to boil. Boil hard for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and ladle into jars as directed. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water, as you would other jellies.
“If the lid fits, Can it!”