Last year, I wanted to try my hand at dandelion jelly. It's fun to do unusual things like that.
It was a lot of work for the end product, and truly: jelly is just a bunch of sugar with a tiny bit of flavor added to it. That's why you can make jelly out of anything! Still, it's fun to brag about, and a great gift to give away.
Although there's a drift of snow on the ground, it will soon be time to consider doing it again. Think about it, why don't you? A bit of sunshine in a jar.
After hearing that a 9th planet may have been discovered, we had to celebrate with my favorite dessert: Banana Pudding. I know this was a fitting choice, because when I ate it, it was like eating a piece of heaven.
I use my own recipe for the pudding, which is a bit like Aunt Irene's:
2/3 C. sugar
1/3 C. cornstarch
2 1/2 C. milk (even low-fat milk works just fine)
2 eggs, well beaten
2 T. butter
1 tsp. vanilla (which I often forget to put in)
In a 1 quart container: Blend sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk, mixing well.
Microwave on HIGH for 5-7 minutes, whisking/stirring every 3 minutes, until thickened, smooth, and clear: until it looks like pudding!
Drizzle (stirring madly) a small amount (perhaps 1 cup) of hot pudding gradually into the egg. Then return the egg mixture to the hot pudding, mixing well.
Microwave on MEDIUM LOW (#7 out of 10) for 1 to 5 minutes, stirring after each minute, until it is smooth and thickened. I do sometimes have trouble with this step; sometimes it really thins out and I don't know why. So keep at it till it thickens. Someone has suggested not to let it get over 180 degrees hot?
Add butter and vanilla.
Now, you're supposed to wait until the pudding cools before adding bananas and graham crackers. This is the hardest part of the recipe! My son has suggested that you make a double batch of the pudding so that you can eat some of it plain while it's hot. This will hold off your anxiety until the pudding cools enough to be used for the BANANA part.
This plan works well.
BANANA PUDDING (SOME CALL IT REFRIGERATOR PUDDING)
The proportions depend upon your taste, but the general idea is to make it in layers: pudding, graham cracker crumbs Kinnickinick makes great GF ones), sliced bananas. Again and again until you've reached the end of the pudding.
I have a strong nervousness about using food that comes directly from China. I'm sure you've read the news reports and understand why. But there's one item from China I can't seem to avoid: powdered garlic. So I went on a quest to see if I could find a way.
To make your own powdered garlic sounds like an exciting prospect. Just imagine the freshness, along with the happiness of having something you made yourself. Empowerment! Healthiness! Improved taste! I am super excited about this idea.
I never would have gotten around to it except that I saw pre-peeled garlic at Sams' Club for an incredibly cheap price. What a fantastic opportunity.
So I sliced it thin and popped it into the oven to dehydrate. Unfortunately, mine took hours longer (i.e., 48 hours) instead of the 2 hours that I was told. (This may have been due to my oven and its specialized dehydrating instructions, which included having the oven door slightly open)
The end product is wonderful. And a sadly depressing small amount, given the labor.
Here's the funny thing, though. At the end, I realized I had never asked myself where the garlic came from. And....you guessed it: the inexpensive peeled garlic came from China!!
I have long been a fan of clocks; I'm sure it's because my mother is a collector and I grew up with the sound of the cuckoo clock keeping time in the wee hours of my night.
But I've never done much about my interest. When the boys were little, I bought a small cuckoo clock that I wind daily; and then I adore the Audubon clock that has a different bird chirp each hour. Quite often instead of saying to myself "Oh, it's 11 o'clock" I will say "Oh, it's the 11 o'clock bird".
But what I really like is what my mother has: the antique "gingerbread" shelf clocks we inherited from my great-grandparents' households. These American clocks (New England area) were made in the late 1800's and early 1900's, using technology that made clocks an affordable household item for many families.
So I bought one. I am appreciating it SO much.
It was made by the Gilbert Company (Connecticut) in 1911. It keeps great time, and I bought it from an expert who cleaned and serviced it before the clock came to me. It has a strong, low "bong".
Well, in my opinion, clocks are like Lays Potato Chips--"you can't have just one". Yesterday, another clock from Ben Kniskern's shop arrived and it is precious too. This Seth Thomas shelf clock has a quieter chime than the Gilbert, but still rich and pleasing.
I am LOVING these clocks! Christmas has already arrived here!