Tuesday, December 20, 2011


In the rush up to the Christmas holiday and with my often crazy work schedule I have to make a date to distribute all the homemade gifts I've prepared.  Today the 10-year-old and I pulled our red wagon loaded with jars and strolled the neighborhood.  We managed to get all but 6 delivered out of 21 names.  It was nice to see everyone, and chat a bit, and hear about everyone's holiday plans!

Tomorrow I will bring gifts for my riding partners and instructor and at some point the kids will take some to their teachers. I have gift cards for the mailman and the sanitation crew.  Thursday I will deliver 24 jars and 6 dozen cookies to work and spread some holiday cheer to the staff.  Oh, yeah.  And gum.  I bought LOTS of gum.  The ER staff really likes gum.  It might even be better than chocolate.

Well, no.  But almost.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chain Reaction

1.  My dryer was finally failing for good.

2.  We decided to buy front-loaders.  My husband wanted to stack them.

3.  That required removing the shelves over the washer and dryer, and the platform that was built underneath by some previous owner of our house.  The platform had to go or I would never reach the top of the dryer once they were stacked.

4.  That required a complete overhaul of the laundry area, including new paneling, moving the electrical socket and a lot of paint.

5.  An unforeseen side effect of moving the electrical socket was that the basement refrigerator is on the same circuit.

6.  It was unforeseen for 2 days before it was seen.

7.  A lot of my stockpiled meat needed to be eaten Right Now.  Thankfully the freezer and fridge were not as full as they could have been.

8.  We eat meat quickly, but not that quickly.  Monday we had spaghetti with turkey meatballs and chicken sausage in the sauce.  Tuesday there was a pork roast.  Wednesday there was a London Broil.

9.  Today, while we wait for the washer and dryer, we will eat Korean broiled eel with noodles - I took the leftover spaghetti from Monday, added soy sauce, sesame oil, 5-spice powder, garlic and white pepper and made "Asian inspired noodles."

10.  Today, I have a lot of paint on my hands and arms.  And in my hair.  Yesterday it was even in my ear.

11.  I also have 5 pints of BBQ pulled pork, thanks to Punk Domestics and another freezer-casualty (pork roast), plus a quick run to the store for pineapple and apple juices, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, and an additional pork butt.

12.  Yeah, Mom, I said that word.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another Batch

Since yesterday's compote creation was so good, I made another batch using the last 1.5 pounds of the rhubarb in the freezer.  This time I added a second apple and ended up with 12 cups of compote.  Considering my gift list keeps expanding, I'm now up to needing 48 jars.  With this batch, I have 45 completed, only 3 to go!  Well, maybe I'll be adding a few more, I just thought of a few more names!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Working on the Gift Stash

My holiday gift list gets larger every year.  This is a good thing, of course.  But I find that I have to work hard to expand my gift stash to get ready for the latter part of the December.  I was thinking about the pear almond compote I made several years ago, and then I thought about adding cranberries and, well, I didn't have pears but I did have rhubarb, and then I thought, what are you waiting for?

I found this recipe for Cranberry-Rhubarb Compote and scaled it up for my frozen rhubarb.  Some organized part of my brain had thought ahead and weighed the rhubarb before I froze it, so it was easy.  I had 1 pound, 6 ounces of rhubarb so I scaled the rest of the ingredients up by 2.5, except the apple, because I only had one in the house.  I started to peel the apple but then I realized the pectin in the skin was required for this recipe so left it alone:

2.75 c. water
2 heaping cups sugar
5.5 cups cranberries
1 pound, 6 oz. chopped rhubarb
1 large apple, finely diced

This scaled-up version made 11 cups of compote, enough for 9 half-pint jars, 3 half-cup jars, and some for me.  It's nice and tart, not very sweet, but sweet enough.  I am guessing a little bit on the processing part but based upon similar recipes in my books, have decided upon 15 minutes in the boiling water canner and let them rest for 5 minutes before removing them.  I'm sure that will be more than enough.  This makes 33 jars in my stash and I need at least 8 more.  Maybe I'll make another batch!