For Today ~ 29 December 2008 ~ Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY … 29 December 2008

Outside My Window… Still a little grey out, sun is still very low on the horizon. Looks like it’ll be a partly cloudy day…and very balmy! We may see 50 again…after a White Christmas! Construction workers with a driller and lots of big tonka toys.

I am thinking… UCK…back to work after having a four days off.

I am thankful for… That I have a job to go back to work to.

From the kitchen… Dirty dishes from last nights dinner of Cheesy Broccoli soup. Not really sure what will be for dinner tonight.

I am wearing… blue jeans, tennies, black turtleneck with a really cute green & black button necklace that a friend made.

I am creating… Scarves! I’ve two finished and am almost done with the 3rd. Will be donating them with two other quilts I’m working on to the Kids Kottage.

I am going… go to lunch with my sister and mom…maybe to Qdoba as Michael’s is next to it…more yarn! It’s on sale. I picked up a Red Heart Collage yarn in Crimson Maple over the weekend and after working with it I WANT MORE…soooo soft! Wish I knew how to knit as I’d make myself a sweater out of it.

I am reading… Nothing…just blogs.

I am hoping… Last week..

that we have a white Christmas, but I have a feeling it’s just going to be a wet Christmas.

HEE! We had a WHITE CHRISTMAS! 🙂

Now I’m hoping someone comes along to turn off that bloody alarm off in the autoclave room! Driving me crazy!

I am hearing… See above…the autoclave alarm. Beep…Beep…Beep…Beep…Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppp!

Around the house… snow.

One of my favorite things… Soft yarn.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… Crocheting…quilting…fix the toilet…paint a sign…write out Thank You notes for all of my Christmas gifts.

Here is a picture thought I’d share with you…

The Garden Faerie House on Christmas Morning…

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The Simple Woman is the original home of The Simple Woman's Daybook.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook will take place each Monday.

Here’s how to take part:

1. Write up and publish your journal page using the questions/picture ideasI have listed below onto your blog. Be as descriptive as you can! This makes it more interesting to your readers. (You may cut and paste them for the purpose to participate in The Simple Woman’s Daybook.)

2. Copy the “permalink” from your “The Simple Woman’s Daybook” post, not the link to the front page of your blog. This will make it much easier for others to find instead of looking through the entire list of entries at your blog for your “daybook”. This will save time for all of us.

3. Come back here and add your permalink to Mister Linky.

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Merry Christmas ~ The Prayer

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2: 8-20

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jam & Margarita Jelly Recipe

I’ve notice a lot of people finding my blog by searching for Strawberry Daiquiri and Margarita Jam recipes…so I’m going to post the two recipes that I used.

I’ve been told by the few people that I gave them as gifts that the jams were wonderful! 😀 So, here you go!

Both jams are from the book 175 Best James, Jellies, Marmalades & Other Soft Spreads, by Linda J. Amendt.

STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI JAM

2-1/4 Cups Crushed Strawberries
3/4 Cup Drained juice-packed crushed pineapple
2/3 Cup Freshly squeezed lime juice (use REAL limes, not the stuff from a jar)
1/2 Cup Rum
6 Cups granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1 pouch (3 oz) liquid pectin

TIPS:
For a uniform texture, cut strawberries into pieces before gently crushing them with a potato or vegetable masher.

For 2-1/4 cups crushed strawberries, you’ll need about 2 lbs or 5 Cups of strawberries.

1. Prepare canning and jar lids and bring water in the canning bath to a boil.

2. In an 8-quart stainless steel pot, combine strawberries, pineapple, lime juice and rum. Gradually stir in sugar and butter. Bring to a boil over medium hear, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.

3. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute.

4. Remove pot from heat and skim off any foam. Let jam cool in the pot for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims and thread with a clean, damp paper towel. Center hot lids on jars and screw on bands until fingertip tight.

6. Place jars in canner, making sure they are covered by at least an inch of water. Cover and bring to a gentle boil, process 4-oz jars and 8-oz jars for 10 minutes; process 1-pint jars for 15 minutes (PLEASE CHECK THIS POST FOR HIGH ALTITUDE PROCESSING)

7. Remove jars from canner and place on a cloth towel. Let cool for 24 hours, then check seals. Wash and dry jars and store in a cool, dry, dark location.

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MARGARITA JELLY

1-1/2 Cups Water
1 Cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 Cup Tequila
1/4 Cup Triple Sec
4-1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Pouch (3-oz) Liquid Pectin
~ I added the zest of 3-4 limes

1. Prepare jars and lids and canning bath.

2. In a large stainless steel stockpot, combine water, lime juice, tequila, Triple Sec and sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.

3. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in Pectin (and lime zest if you want to add it). Return to a full boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Follow steps 4-7 above (in Strawberry Daiquiri recipe).

Speedy Kosher-Style Dill Pickles

I’ve been asked by a few people for the recipe I use for my dill pickles ~ guess what?! I remembered to bring the book to work today! 😀

Speedy Dill Pickles ~
pg 102 from Canning & Preserving for Dummines, Karen Ward, Canning Instructor.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Processing Time: 15 minutes for Quarts, 10 minutes for Pints
Yield: 3 quarts or 6 pints

4 pounds pickling cucumbers (I used my garden cucumbers the first time and they turned out great)
6 TBSP Kosher Salt
3 Cups distilled White Vinegar
3 Cups Water
1 TBSP whole mixed pickling spices
18 black peppercorns (I used the black, red, white peppercorns)
3 TBSP dill seed
Fresh dill springs (optional)
2 Cloves peeled garlic, halved into each jar

Start heating up your water bath while you do the rest below ~

1. Wash your cucumbers. Leave them whole if they’re smaller than 4″ in diameter. Cut larger cucumbers into slices or in halves or quarters.

2. Prepare your canning jars and two piece caps according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep jars and lids hot.

3. Combine salt, water, and vinegar in a saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt. Keep liquid hot.

4. Snuggly pack the cucumbers into your prepared jars. To each QUART JAR add 1 tsp of pickling spices, 6 peppercorns, and 1 TBSP of dill seed. To each PINT JAR add 1/2 tsp pickling spices, 3 peppercorns, and 1-1/2 tsp dill seed. If you are using fresh dill add a sprig or two to each quart or pint jar in between the inside edge of the jar and the cucumbers. If you are using garlic you add it to this step too.

5. Ladle the hot liquid into your filled jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace in the Quart jars and 1/4 inch in the Pint jars. Completely submerge the cucumbers. If they protrude from the jar, adjust them until you have the proper headspace. Release any air bubbles with a non-reactive tool (wood or rubber ~ I use a small, flat wooden knife). Add more liquid to the jar if the level drops from releasing the any air bubbles.

6. Wipe the jar rims; seal the jars with the two piece caps, hand-tighten the bands. Process your filled jars in the water bath.

15 minutes for Quart Jars
10 minutes for Pint Jars

Start your time from the point of boiling!

See chart below for increased time if you are above sea level ~ I have to add an extra 10 minutes of bath time for all of my canning.

High-Altitude Processing Times
1,001 – 3,000 5 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 10 minutes
6,001 – 8,000 15 minutes
8,001 – 10,000 20 minutes

Remove the jars and place them on a clean kitchen or paper towel away from drafts. After the jars cool completely, test the seals. If you find jars that haven’t sealed, refrigerate and use them with 2 months.

I love listening for the pinging of the jars…sweet music to a canners ears! 🙂

Maple Nut Scones with Pear Butter

I’m going to post some recipes today ~ here is one that was just emailed to me from Raley’s (where I grocery shop) ~ sounds delicious! Dill Pickles and Jam/Jelly recipes will be in another post.

Maple Nut Scones with Pear Butter (from Raley’s Recipe Center)

INGREDIENTS

Pear Butter:
1 large very ripe Bartlett pear, peeled,
cored and mashed
1/4 cup softened butter (no substitutions)
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Scones:
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. imitation maple flavor
1 cup peeled and diced Bartlett pears
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tbsp. sugar (for topping)

DIRECTIONS
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes total

To prepare butter: Simmer mashed pear in a small saucepan over medium heat for 15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. (Pear will start sticking to the pan at this point.) Let cool slightly; stir in butter and maple syrup. Let stand at room temperature to thicken. Butter can be prepared ahead, if desired, and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

To prepare scones: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine dry ingredients except 1/2 tbsp. sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until butter is the size of peas (do not overmix). Stir in buttermilk, maple flavor, pears and pecans. Turn mixture onto a lightly floured board and knead several times until dough is smooth. Press into a 10-inch circle and cut into 10 wedges with a sharp knife. Place wedges 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with 1/2 tbsp. sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with Pear Butter.

Makes 10 scones.

Nutrition Per Serving: 340 calories, 5 g protein, 20 g total fat (10 g sat., 0 g trans), 38 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 40 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 8 points

Music Shuffle Meme

Here are the rules:

1. Put Your iTunes, Zune, Ipod, Windows Media Player, etc on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.

Here are my answers from my iPod ~

1. If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say? The Look of Love ~ ABC

2. How would you describe yourself? I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing ~ Aerosmith

3. What do you like in a guy/girl? What Kind of Love are You ~ Aerosmith

4. How do you feel today? Last in Love ~ George Strait

5. What is your life’s purpose? Fallen Embers ~ Enya

6. What is your motto? Rocky Road to Dublin ~ Young Dubliners

7. What do your friends think of you? Jump in the Sea ~ Young Dubliners

8. What do you think of your parents? Fiona’s Lullaby ~ Mason Daring

9. What do you think about very often? The River Sings ~ Enya

10. What is 2 + 2? In the Midnight Hour ~ The Commitments

11. What do you think of your best friend? Painted Desert ~ Pat Benatar

12. What do you think of the person you like? With or Without You ~ U2

13. What is your life story? Adia ~ Sarah McLachlan

14. What do you want to be when you grow up? Hurts So Good ~ John Mellencamp

15. What do you think of when you see the person you like? Color My World ~ Chicago

16. What will you dance to at your wedding? You Really Got Me ~ Kinks

17. What will they play at your funeral? The Long Race ~ Bruce Hornsby & The Range

18. What is your hobby/interest? Destination: Anywhere ~ The Commitments

19.What is your biggest fear? The Little Drummer Boy ~ Josh Groban

20.What is your biggest secret? Change the World ~ Young Dubliners

21. What do you think of your friends? I Thought I’d Seen Everything ~ Diamond Rio

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If you have read this, you are TAGGED!!!!

For Today ~ 22 December 2008 ~ Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY … 22 December 2008

Outside My Window… Cold, Blue skies, light clouds, slick roads, drill rig, haulpak trucks, front-end loaders, backhoes, lots of construction workers in their Carharts…all bundled up looking like Randy from The Christmas Story!

I am thinking… Why didn’t I take this week off of work. We aren’t busy, my niece, nephew and sister have the week off…I could be playing with them. My nephew’s reaction when he saw the Russian Dancers during The Nutcracker on Saturday night.

I am thankful for… Same as last week…my church, family, a roof over my head, my space heater under my desk here at work.

From the kitchen… Lasagna from last night…couldn’t wait for my mom to make it for Christmas Eve dinner.

I am wearing… blue jeans, tennies, fuzzy black/grey pull-over.

I am creating… nothing…I’m all ready for Christmas…but I did buy some really pretty yarn (purple, green and cream shades) to make myself the only thing I know how to crochet…a scarf!

I am going… hmmm…not really sure what I’m going to do…and you know what? I don’t care. Hee!

I am reading… Nothing…just blogs.

I am hoping… that we have a white Christmas, but I have a feeling it’s just going to be a wet Christmas.

I am hearing… The construction guys…lots of banging and beeping.

Around the house… absolutely nothing. All clean, well…as clean as it’s gonna get, laundry done, dishes washed, house swept, birds fed, cats fed…

One of my favorite things… People enjoying my baked goodies.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… Taking it easy while the rest of the world rushes on by.

Here is a picture thought I’d share with you…

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

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The Simple Woman is the original home of The Simple Woman's Daybook.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook will take place each Monday.

Here’s how to take part:

1. Write up and publish your journal page using the questions/picture ideasI have listed below onto your blog. Be as descriptive as you can! This makes it more interesting to your readers. (You may cut and paste them for the purpose to participate in The Simple Woman’s Daybook.)

2. Copy the “permalink” from your “The Simple Woman’s Daybook” post, not the link to the front page of your blog. This will make it much easier for others to find instead of looking through the entire list of entries at your blog for your “daybook”. This will save time for all of us.

3. Come back here and add your permalink to Mister Linky.