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October 30, 2010

Updates on the Non Cooking Parts of our Lives...

It's been awhile since I've posted anything other than recipes...I tend to just post the kids pictures and cute stuff on facebook but we did a little traveling recently out to Michigan to see my sister and I couldn't resist sharing some of our trip with you :) Enjoy!

My beautiful baby sister...
Monkey enjoying the great outdoors!

Bobalu taking a little break halfway up the mountain...

Moo and my nephew sharing some water...

climbing the stairs...

Pipps and my sister sharing some love...

silly boys...

entering the beach to Lake Superior...

awe inspiring...and fun!

running on the beach...

silly kids...

self portrait!

October 29, 2010

Cowgirl Candy

My new love is sweet/spicy. It used to just be salty, but now...oh man...this whole venture into canning has been so much fun and I've loved the things that I've made. The strawberry jalapeno jam, the raspberry habanero sauce, these lovely little gems that I nicknamed cowgirl candy...they all taste great on a cracker with cream cheese, by themselves, even on a grown up PB&J...mmmmm

The original recipe for the candied jalapenos was from one of the food blogs that I follow, Foodie With Family. (here's the link) I originally posted the link to this recipe on my facebook page long before I even made them - it was spring and there weren't any peppers at the market yet...I had a gazillion comments from people that wanted a jar and so when August finally rolled around, I bought out all the peppers from my favorite hippy farmer, much to his amazement (and happiness!)

They were a cinch to make, which was really the loveliest part. Canning is so simple that I can't believe I was ever afraid to try it! I love preserving the flavors of the summer and really even enjoy giving away half of what I make- although I wish I would've kept a couple more jars of these around.

My jars ended up with a bit of sediment in them, which is what really prevented me from even trying them until I was visiting my sister out of state recently...but after a couple jameson gingers (I'll post her fabulous recipe later), we cracked open the jar and OH MY GOODNESS...devoured the whole thing right there on the spot. SO GOOD.
One of them even turned up looking like a heart...awwww...

So you're probably waiting for the recipe...and so I'll just quit talking about how great these are and post it! (...and then I'm running to the store for wheat thins and cream cheese because now I just want a huge jar of these...)


Yield: About 9 half-pint jars of Candied Jalapenos plus additional jalapeno syrup.

3 pounds fresh, firm, jalapeno peppers, washed2 cups cider vinegar6 cups white granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon turmeric1/2 teaspoon celery seed3 teaspoons granulated garlic1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1. Slice of the stem ends of all the peppers and then slice each pepper into 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. (You can wear gloves if you like. Personally, I really enjoy forgetting and then later, when I've forgotten that I've been handling hot peppers, rubbing my eyes and then screaming and crying like a baby while my husband just shakes his head...)
2. In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. (Side note, (again), if you're new to canning, like I was this summer, I think there's something to be said along the lines that you can really fit a ton more stuff into jars then you'd think. Pack it in there! It's totally fine!)
3. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for 6 minutes. (or maybe longer, like 8 minutes, because I'm sure a kid is screaming about something and you'll get distracted...it's all good)
4. Use a ladle and funnel to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices to within 1/4-inch of the rim.  Insert a cooking chopstick or air bubble tool thingy to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air.  Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
5. Place jars in a canner, cover with water by 2-inches.  Bring the water to a full rolling boil.  When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints.  When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack.  Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.  When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth then label.