Holiday Jam

 The holidays are upon us.  Ready or not.

I got an email from a local store who sells some of my jams and jellies requesting a couple dozen more jars.  This is great news.  Except, I wasn't sure I had more of those requested (mostly berry jams.)  Or, at least, not if my family was going to have them, too.

So, I did what any good canner would do - I made more.

I usually only can what is in season.  What is in season in November in New England?  Not much.


Cranberries.  Oh yeah!  And I had some strawberries around, too (not in season, but a good price for some reason), and citrus.  Citrus is in season.

Got it.

This is the result.  I'm calling in Holiday Jam because I had seen that online and it was shorter than Cranberry Strawberry Clementine Lemon Jam.

Holiday Jam
this made 14 half pint jars, plus a little for the fridge

6 cups fresh cranberries (2 - 12 ounce packages)
6 cups mashed strawberries (about 3 pounds - you could use frozen, too)
4 clementine oranges, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
7 1/2 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons low-sugar pectin
pat of butter (optional)

Prepare your jars and water bath canner.

Place cranberries in a large pot.  Mash or rough puree your strawberries and add to the pot.

Zest and juice your citrus and add to the pot.

Put 1/2 cup of sugar to a small bowl and mix in all of the pectin.  Add the pectin sugar mixture to the fruit and stir it up.

Over medium high heat, heat fruit until it is boiling and the cranberries have started to split.  Add butter, if using, to cut down on the foam.

Add the remaining sugar all at once to the boiling fruit.  Bring back to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. I squished most of the cranberries against the side of the pot with my spoon while I was stirring.  It was fun - kinda like popping bubble wrap. Boil at a rolling boil for exactly 1 minute.

Remove from heat.  Skim off the foam and call the kiddos to taste it.  They'll like it.

Ladle the hot jam into your hot jars.  Wipe rims.  Place lids and rings on jars and tighten to fingertip tight.  Boiling water bath all of your filled jars for 10 minutes.

Remove jars to a towel draped counter and wait for the pings of power.

These would make great Christmas presents.
Just saying.


Ginger Chicken (or Pork or Tofu)

Wow.  It is November already.  Weird.  Next week is Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.  

Too soon.

I have been busy - just like all of you.  Homeschooling is going well.  It is nice to be able to do things without signing a million papers and paying a bus fee.  For example, last week we were able to drive to New London, CT to help build a memorial playground for our sweet friend Emilie Parker.  She was one of the young victims of the Sandy Hook shooting last December.

Alissa and Robbie Parker, friends of ours.
It felt good.

When you home school you can do things like that.  Last month we went to the Jewish History Museum in NYC.  A couple of weeks ago we went to the CT Science Center.  We went to a revolutionary war reenactment. We read, we paint, we try to speak French together, my kiddo tries to teach me algebra.  Good times.
Emily inside the "Temple" piece.

My first painting in 30 years.  Em's is not done yet.
The Redcoats are coming!
It helps to have fast meals to fall back on.

This is one of them.

I can't believe that I hadn't posted it before.  It is one of those easy, versatile meals where you adjust the ingredients to whatever you have on hand. 

Ginger Chicken or Pork or Tofu

cooked rice
6 boned chicken breasts or thighs OR pork chops OR tofu - diced
1/2 cup flour OR cornstarch
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 cup fruit juice (my favorite for this is orange, but I have used apple or grape or pineapple)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced OR 1/2 teaspoon dried, ground ginger
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced OR 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
whatever veggies you have, diced or sliced - I used 1 onion, 1 bell pepper, 2 carrots and 1/3 head of cabbage this time.  Other veggies that are good are green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or anything you like

Shake whatever protein you are using in a large ziplock bag with the flour or cornstarch.

Add oil to a large skillet.  

Brown flour covered meat and veggies in oil.

Mix the juice, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a bowl.
Add to the skillet with everything else.  Cook until the meat is done and veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Serve over rice.