Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Kittens

Being a cat person I enjoy looking at pictures of cats and kittens, so when SN2 showed me this video this afternoon, I had to share.
You may have seen this before, but it's worth a repeat viewing:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adventures in Canning

Last night I took care of something that I simply had to do because I couldn't let fresh carrots go to waste.
So I cut up those carrots, cut up some pears, and then I added pineapple, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Can't you just smell the cloves?

After it boiled for 20 minutes I added powdered pectin and sugar:

A lot of sugar.
Can you guess what it is?
You've had plenty of hints.
Give up?
Okay, I'll show you.
This is the final product:

It's Carrot Cake Jam!
Well, and Carrot Cake Conserve too.
Do you know what a conserve is?
It's a jam with nuts in it, that's the only difference.
Pretty simple, eh?
I'm excited to try this, but I'm also dreading finding room for it.
One of the reasons I haven't been blogging much this summer is because I've found a new summer obsession: canning.
Here's a list of all I've created so far this summer:
Danish Cherry Sauce - Cherries in sugar syrup with cinnamon and almond extract
Spirited Apricots - sliced apricots in sugar syrup with rum
Raspberry jam
Old-Fashioned Strawberry jam - no pectin, just sugar and fruit (took Hours to do but it is the best, by far)
Summer Solstice Preserves - blueberries and cherries
Victorian Barbecue Sauce - rhubarb, raisins, brown sugar-based sauce
Black Forest Preserves - cherries, sugar, and chocolate
Blueberry Pie Filling
Crushed Tomatoes
Strawberry Freezer Jam
Raspberry Blackberry Freezer Jam
Carrot Cake Jam - carrots, pears, pineapple, spices
Carrot Cake Conserve - same as above but with walnuts

You know this has meant hours of labor in the kitchen, but I think the end product is worth it.
Well here, I'll show you:

For some people this might not be a lot, but you have to realize that I have never canned before, so this whole process is totally new to me.
My mother gave me all her canning supplies, as well as her jars, so that has helped, but it's all been one big food experiment, and I love it!
(I don't know how it all tastes, but we live in hope that come December when we open a jar the taste will remind us of the rainy summer day on which it was made when all the ingredients were fresh from the market. And yeah, rainy, because that's ALL it's done this summer.)
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has been my guide throughout this process.
And just think, it's only July - apples haven't even been harvested yet!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Last night we had a wonderful dinner.
DN1 made pesto:

It was so good, the basil taste was so fresh it was unbelievable!
Of course it was fresh, because she sat there and picked off 2 cups of basil leaves from the plant, and then ground it up in the blender with pine nuts.
I love basil, it is definitely my favorite spice, so of course I had to add a bunch (or rather more than the recipe called for) to the bolognese sauce I made:

We served both sauces (separately, of course) with the ravioli we buy from the Public Market.
This ravioli is so delicious, and so filling, that I can only eat three, okay four, before I'm as full as a tick.
Wonderful stuff, and they fill it with great ingredients. DN1 had feta and spinach last night, I had 3 cheese, and then meat, and we've also tried gorgonzola and some other flavors.
The stuff isn't cheap, but it's the best I've had.
I'll let you know when we're cooking again so you can come on over.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why Reading Nancy Drew is like knitting a dishcloth

Did anyone else grow up reading Nancy Drew?
I did.
I remember taking my birthday money to the local bookstore and buying copies of Nancy Drew books.
Believe it or not I still have them, and every once in a while I'll take one out and read it.
Could you stop reading when the chapter ended, or did you have to read on to the next page to see what came next?
Those chapter endings were so suspenseful to me as a child that I couldn't put the book down at the end of the chapter; I would have to read on to see what was going to happen.
I still do that to this day.
I read a lot, and by a lot, I mean usually constantly, with several books going at once (and some actually being finished!).
So in that, knitting is a lot like reading.
Sometimes it's hard to focus on just one project, and sometimes a project is just so overwhelming and difficult that I have to put it down and return to a simpler time.
Think dishcloths.
My first knit (thanks Major Knitter!).
Every once in a while the books I read become too overwhelming for me, so I do return to easier reads, and that's where Nancy Drew comes in - she is my dishcloth.
With her I can relax and refocus.
That girl has everything going for her.
I know that there are many of you who were Hardy Boys readers, but not for me, I was a tomboy who read all girl books.
Really I don't leave these books behind even as an adult, and I've just discovered a new series written in 1972 about a girl named Kim Aldrich who solves mysteries.
I only have two of the four books in the series, and I picked these up at an antique store, so now you know I must get the other two, come hell or high water.
And what prompted me to write this blog post was not only that I'm trying to get more information about this new to me series, but I discovered that there is an annual Nancy Drew Convention.
Who knew?!?
I didn't, but it sure looks like fun, don't you think?
Perhaps next year, I can meet up with some of my other Nancy Drew/knitting friends.
How about it?