Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays All!

I hope everyone had a fantastic and safe Christmas!

We definitely did; lots of travel, super slippery roads; but we were all together and made it home safely!

Happy holidays from our family to yours!
...and I was so happy to get home to my chickens and my hubby was happy to get home to his cows! 

* I'd also like to share a picture of my aunt and uncle with a painting my cousin and his wife asked me to do as a gift; its their family dogs, past and present.  

So happy they liked it! 

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Canned Cranberry Sauce

This is a great recipe and actually a fairly easy canning recipe {although you could also store this in the refrigerator if you will use it within a week or two; I assume you could also freeze it but I haven't tried that yet}.  

All you need are fresh cranberries, sugar, an orange and water!  The original recipe I found and used from Foodie with Family strained the cranberries to make it more "jelly" like.  I decided I wanted to keep some of the texture {but not much}, so I ran my berries through my food processor.

This is a huge hit with everyone in my family!  Big Mr. J and Little Miss J like to eat it with a spoon or fingers.  And my hubby was using it on my fresh Hawaiian baked bread before I got a chance to tell him it was a sauce not a jam!

I made a single batch of this last Sunday, which came out to 2 quart and 3 pint jars.  Then since it was so tasty and fresh cranberries are in season right now, I made double batch on Monday, which turned out just over 5 quarts!  

Yum, homemade cranberry sauce for the year to come!
Now to the recipe...

-4 {12 ounce} bags fresh cranberries
-4 cups sugar
-zest of 1 orange {I actually used 2 clementines (zest and juice)... *tip: zest orange before juicing it}
-juice of 1 orange plus enough water to equal 4 cups

1. Prepare canning equipment, start heating water in canner.
2. Combine sugar and orange juice/water mixture in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.
3. Add cranberries and orange zest; return to a boil, gently boil for about 10 minutes.
4. At this point you can choose to strain the mixture through a sieve or process the mixture in a food processor or blender {you could probably use an immersion blender, but I haven't tried it yet}.  I processed my cooked cranberry mixture in batches in my food processor.
5. Once you have processed or strained the mixture return it to the pot and keep hot.
6. Pour cranberries into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
7. Wipe rims, place lids on jars, screw on rings to finger-tip tightness and place jars in hot water bath.
8. Process all jars for 15 minutes, whether they are pint, pint and a half or quart.
9. Turn off heat and remove canner lid, let jars sit in water for 5 mintues.
10. Transfer jars to a wire rack or clean towel to cool overnight.

Enjoy any way you like its great!  

I think it would be fantastic over ice cream or cake, or maybe even over greek yogurt!?!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Handmade Dinosaur Stocking Holders

These were fun to do and I enjoy looking at them next to our Christmas tree.  They are also very simple to make!
{I made them last winter, but by the time I had them figured out I thought its was too late to post the tutorial.}
Also, an update on the little ones that Ombre hatched.
She has decided that she's done taking care of them;
so Shadow our little bantam {shown here} has adopted them as her own!
Cute, and they are getting so big that her wings have to stretch so far up to wrap them up.

-Plastic dinosaur or other toy figurine, one per stocking holder {I used some of the kid's dinosaur figurine toys that they didn't use much anymore.  You could probably find some at your local dollar store; I think all of ours came from Target.}
-wooden blocks, one per stocking holder {I just used pieces of scrap wood so all of mine are different; you could get matching pieces at a craft store}
-spray paint
-strong glue {I used E-6000}
-screw-in open eye hooks, one per stocking holder
-cork or rubber corner cushions, 4 per stocking holder, optional {helps to prevent scratching or rubbing on the surface the stocking holder is on}

For Wreath Collar:
-green pipe cleaners, two per dino
-small bells, I used gold and red {you could also use colored beads}

1. Arrange dinos on wooden blocks; move them around until you like the position of them.
This is how I decided to arrange mine...
2. Apply glue to all the places in which the dino will touch the wood block.
3. Press glued feet onto the block where you want them, allow to dry completely.
On the T-Rex I applied glue to both feet and the tall;
I also allowed one of the toes to hang over the front edge.
4. Pre-drill holes for screwing in the open eye hooks.  And screw in the hooks on each stocking hanger.
5. Next, take your stocking holders to a well-ventilated area and thoroughly spray paint holders.  
Allow to dry completely.
6. Apply corner cushions to the bottom of each stocking holder.
7. Now they are ready for using...
Hang your stockings and enjoy!
I started with this violet color, because that is what I had on hand, then I decided I didn't like them as much as I thought and re-spray painted them with a red paint.
Here is the re-painting process; take time to make sure that you get paint in the mouths, under the bellies and tails, etc...
All re-painted and ready to use, again!
The violet under the red ended up adding a little extra dimension to the texture of the dinosaur's surfaces...

Now, for a little extra holiday touch I thought it would be cool to add a bell wreath around each dino's neck...
1. Thread a few bells onto each pipe cleaner.  {I tried to place the bells so they wouldn't line up right against each other.}
2. Twist the beaded pipe cleaners together
3. Wrap the "wreath" around the dino's neck and twist pipe cleaners to secure the ends.
4. Repeat with remaining pipe cleaners.
5. Repeat on all remaining dinos.

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