Saturday, January 16, 2010

I made motherfucking MARMALADE!

Shit yeah, bitches, and it was EASY! Here is what you do:

Buy a bunch of canning jars (12 16oz jars for $8 at HEB)
Buy a bunch of oranges (18lb bag for $7 at my farmer’s market)
Buy a bunch of sugar (The Library Overlord went out and got me some kinda crazy 20lb bag of sugar, I really hope I use it all making jam because I don’t have anything I can store this in)
(optional) Buy a set of canning tongs ($10, The Walmarts)

Get a big cooking pot, like for making a bunch of soup.
Get an even BIGGER, GIANT stock pot, like for making chili for a very large party.

Peel some oranges. I find it’s easier to quarter them first, then peel the quarters, because then the peels are all the same size, instead of all kinds of crazy sizes. Cut the peels into little strips and put them in your pot. I did 8 oranges per batch.

Tear the orange-quarters into little bits, and put them in the pot. You can do this over the pot, so the inevitable juice drips go in with the rest of it. Toss out any seeds.

Pour in water, 1 cup at a time, until it barely covers your oranges. For my pot, 4 cups did it. Then, add as many cups of sugar as you did water. THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO ADD!

Bring that bitch up to a boil for like a minute, then take it down to a simmer. Simmer it until you can take some of it out, put it in a clean bowl, and it kinda starts to gel up when it cools. That’s when you know it’s done. The recipe I was using said that should take about an hour, but I had the heat on low at first so it took a lot longer than that. Just keep setting the timer for 20 minutes, after that first hour, and eventually it will be jam.

NOTE: MARMALADE HAS A BITTER BITE. If you don’t like that, don’t add the peel, and DO add pectin. I didn’t do that, so I don’t know how to tell you how to do it. Me, I like the little bit of bitterness, and the texture of the peel.

TO CAN: Get your big-ass stockpot, and put something on the bottom so the jars don’t rest directly on the bottom of the pot. I used a vegetable steamer thingy. Put your jars in, put your lid parts in, fill it with water, and boil that shit for at least a minute to sterilize. Then, USING YOUR TONGS BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS HOT, remove the jars and fill them with your nice, hot marmalade. Oh, yeah, baby, just like that. Fill me with your orange goodness. Put the lids on the jars, the screw-thingies around them, and screw them on tight. Do this to all the jars, or until you run out of marmalade.

Put the jars back in the boiling water, and boil them for another 15 minutes. Take them out, and let them cool down slowly. If you can still poke the top of the jar and make a clicking sound as the top comes up and down, then it hasn’t sealed yet. If it doesn’t seal by the time it’s room temperature, boil it again, and see if it goes that time.

It should probably wait overnight to cool down, and it’s supposed to take a couple days to really thicken up in the jar. But let’s be honest, you’re going to be eating it with a spoon by breakfast time, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.


When the marmalade is cooked, but you haven’t canned it yet, add in a bunch of chocolate chips. I didn’t really measure it at all, but maybe 1 part chocolate to 2 or 3 parts jam? Mix it up, and the heat of the jam will melt the chocolate. Can as per usual. It’s so good, your mouth will orgasm with delight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Time for the Big Guns

Last night, I hit 50 rows left to go on my Persian Star Shawl. I posited that if I knit 5 rows a day, I’d be done in a little over a week! Then I remembered that the rows? Are over 1000 stitches each at this point.

I did some math. I have knit 124,592 stitches on this shawl. There are 51,200 left to go, PLUS the edging that I haven’t figured out yet what it’s going to be.

Galveston was only 125,128 stitches. If I’d done another shawl with that size yarn, I’d be almost done right now, instead of having 29% left to knit.

So, either way, I think I'm going to try it. I'm going to try and knit at LEAST two rows a day, and stop if I hit five in one evening. If I work on it during my lunch break, that should help. If I work on it during D&D games, dinners with friends, anything I can think of, that should all help. I'm getting into the point now where more and more of it has patterning every row, instead of every other row, and that is not helping. But as bob is my witness, I will get this done before my arbitrary deadline of April Fool's Day!

Monday, January 04, 2010

State of the Union

Well, it's a new year, I'm in a new home, with a new cat, and it's time to figure out my plan for the upcoming spring. So far this winter break, I've gotten the cat fixed, made kebab, henna'd a friend's hair, cleaned and scrubbed the entire bathroom and kitchen, baked a gross of cookies, weeded my bookshelves and sold the extras to HalfPrice (made a good amount, too!), gone through the last of the boxes from when I moved in, sorted my renfest stuff into keepable and unkeepable items (stuff that doesn't fit any more, mostly), had the dishwasher at Casa del PenName replaced, and gotten rid of a bunch of stuff I don't actually need. I even started making the bed every day! What's up with all that, right? It's almost like I'm living like a grownup.

I'd really like to cut down my possessions to the bare minimum this year, and it's time to admit to myself that this may have to involve a significant bit of destashing. Some of it I'll be putting up for sale, but some of it I may be posting here for free, so keep a lookout. Now that I have one completely-cleared-off bookshelf at my disposal, I find myself wanting to store my various non-fiber crafts there. Once there's actually ROOM for everything I own - or, rather, once I've cut down what I own to just what I have room for - I think I might even start decorating. I'd like to finally hang my creepy mask collection, and maybe do a little bit of painting to hang up. If things turn out well, I'll take pictures and show everyone :)

Things in my personal life are going well, too. I've gotten used to living alone, and I'm starting to really enjoy being single. It's fun to flirt, but it's even better to go home to my quiet house at the end of the night. I'm secure in my home and my finances, I've gotten confidence in my ability to take care of myself, and all in all I'm happy. I know part of that has to be the brain drugs, and I'm so thankful that I'm finally on them. My weight hasn't really gone down a whole lot (I waver between 190-195), but I feel good, so it's hard to care that much.

I have another spinning wheel that I got off Craigslist that I'm still in the process of fixing up, but the drive wheel itself is a bit of a mess. I need to figure out exactly which spoke goes into which of 12 spots, so that the come-apart rim will come back together AND fit on the too-loose-for-my-tastes center. Once I've got that figured out, I am gluing that bitch together like you would not believe.

And hey, if that doesn't work, I can replace the whole thing with a bicycle wheel.