Monday, August 27, 2012

I only worked

two and a half days this week and it seems like it's been forever since I've been in the office... 
A nice little break -- so, let me tell you what I've been up to- not that it's super exciting or anything...
But first - I have to say thanks for bringing me to my senses! Of course I know Ikea isn't Danish - I do love their SWEDISH meatballs afterall! 
 [And we've loved watching the documentary about the compnay on tv a couple of times - seriously!!] But somewhere in my rush to get there I was thinking of the store that used to be here in our little town, called Two Danes - with furniture along the same style, but oh so much more pricey... 
I worked in Montgomery Monday afternoon [travel] and Tuesday - and then I was up bright and early to head to a county to do a little training on Wednesday... so by Thursday I was ready for a little break - and I took it! 
And made four batches of scuppernong jelly - my favorite jelly in all the world.
I know some of you are going, 'What?!?' so I'll share a little photo of some scuppernongs that I got from the web [sadly, even though I'm taking Elizabeth Dillow's photo class over at BPC, I've taken very few photos this week - been busy LIVING] -
Craig bought 3 lbs. at The Farmer's Market near my Montgomery Office. Here's how I make my jelly - it's not hard - but it does take a little time [feel free to skip this if you're not into jelly-making, but some have asked, so I'll share] -
Wash and Juice the grapes -
First I washed the grapes well and divided them in half - put them in pots and covered with a couple of  inches of water. After they come to a boil I mash them against the sides of the pan to crush them well - I let them boil for about 30 minutes. Then I strain the juice through a strainer that is lined with a thin cotton dish towel [think Ikea] mashing the juice out of the pulp as it drains. After cleaning the cloth I do this at least one more time, sometimes twice. [I like for my jelly to be as clear as ginger ale.]
Prepare the Jars -
Next I clean my jars - whether I'm using jars saved from last year or new jars, they're washed in warm soapy water and then dipped in boiling water for a minute or so. Then they are put on a cloth upside down to drain. The lids [always new!] and rings are put in a pot of hot water [simmering] while the jelly cooks.
Make the Jelly -
I put a large pot of water on to boil and then  measure 7 cups of sugar in a large measuring cup / mixing bowl. Next, I put 5 cups of juice into another big pot; add one package of sure-jell to the juice and whisk until dissolved. Bring this to a boil and add all the sugar at once. Stir to dissolve and bring to a boil again - boil for ONE MINUTE [being VERY careful that it doesn't boil over on you or the stove - I lift the pan off the heat every few seconds during the boiling process to accomplish this - and will admit that I am, in fact, very familiar with the mess it makes when I don't - ha.] After one minute, immediately take it off the heat and begin skimming the foam off - I am a skimming feign - I skim and skim, and then skim some more [again, all in the effort to get nice clear jelly.]
 Canning - 
Once all the foam is gone I ladle it into the prepared jars [usually about two and half ladles per jar.] Then I take a clean damp cloth and wipe the rim and top edges of the jars before putting the lids and rings on tightly. I usually get 9 half-pint jars from one batch. Next, I put a dish towel in my pot of boiling water and put the jars in there gently - and let them water-bath  [boil] for ten minutes. The pot I use can hold 8 jars, but I usually do it in batches of 5 and 4. When the water-bath is complete, I carefully take them out [I use long silicone edged tongs] and set them on the counter where I can listen to the jars POP as the seal is complete - music to my ears! Note: I've never tried to double the recipe so I have no idea how that might work - I just make batch-after-batch until all my juice is gone. Delish!

REAL-LIFE photo - the kitchen after making jelly
In other news - Craig and I happened upon the Opening Night for The City Cafe here in town - we've eaten at the one[s] in Georgia a couple of times - and they were treating everyone RIGHT. The food is as DELISH as we remember - and so much of it. [I actually had two additional meals from the meatloaf I brought home...] And we were too stuffed to try dessert- but omgoodness, they looked delicious too!
Friday, I headed up to Nashville for CKC [a scrapbooking convention] - had to be there for an 8:30 class [oh my!] and took three more after that. Here's the deal - it was VERY nice to have plenty of space to work - but oh-so-sad to have less than ten in most of my classes... And the Vendor Area? LESS THAN FIFTY. Still, it was fun to see the gals from AdornIt [LOVE how they're staying 'on trend' with the industry! And SEI - will always remember how both of these companies gave us extra-special tours of their facilities / work-process / warehouses before CKU-Provo in '09. - Just good people. I enjoyed my classes - got lots of goodies to bring home, and yes, bought my fair-share of stuff too. Everyone was saying this is the last time they'll be in Nashville - so Birmingham [May 2013] here I come!
I made it back to town in time to do a 'girls-night-out' with friends. well, I missed dinner, but did join them to see 'Sparkle.' Thought it was good, but kind of sad to know that Whitney Houston was  playing a mom who was so against drug use, when she was probably using the whole time she was filming. But she probably didn't see herself as an addict - that's the lie that addiction tells us - that we can quit anytime... And somehow, I think I wanted to see the thirty [twenty -?] year old Whitney who had fallen in love with her body guard - wasn't prepared for a 40-year-old version of her.
 I rested most of Saturday and Sunday - cleaned and sorted the new scrap stuff, worked on some of the Fiskateer Games Challenges, watched The Pioneer Woman, napped, and made that last batch of jelly. So happy we've found the worship service we enjoy! Our church has different venues with all types of music - and they moved them around during the summer - but yay! We've found the choir once again!

Lastly, I never thought I would do it - but I am slowly transitioning all my calendar business [and mine holds so much more than the daily appointments] to my little office set-up on the Kindle Fire [DejaOffice] - it has just the color-coding that I like for my tasks and contacts and memos - wheee! 
Have a great week y'all!


okienurse said...

OMG! Swedish meatballs! I just had supper and now I am wishing I had some of those yummy Swedish meatballs. My MIL used to hand make them with Ligonberries or Gooseberries and my husband is spoiled. I need to make a trip to IKEA! Never heard of the scuppernong jelly...sounds and looks yummy. I love seeing all those jars lined up! Love the cake counter too...

Gloria L. said...

I decided not to go to CKC Nashville, but I would have tagged along had I known! I will plan to go to Birmingham next May! Sorry to hear that the vendor turnout was low.