Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 wrap up and goals for the New Year

Hello all. It has been quite a while since I posted on my blog. I have dozens of drafts but couldn't seem to find the gumption to complete them. I hope everyone has been healthy, happy and productive.

2017 was somewhat trying health wise for me . A few procedures and minor surgeries. Nothing too horrible or life changing. To be honest, 2017 was just a trying year overall, for so many reasons.

5 months is too much for me to cover in detail.  I never seem to know how time manages to get away from me so easily. So reader's digest condensed version...

The garden was so-so. I still managed to do a bit of canning. Lots of pickles, jams and tomato sauce. I even managed to can few new (to me) recipes for jams. 

Monkey Butter-I think I mine is a darker amber color because I used frozen fruit, used moreno sugar (which doesn't have all the molasses removed) and I caramelized the sugars.  I don't really like coconut (texture) but this jam is sweet, tropical and mellow. Very delicious!

I made an overnight crockpot Apple Pear butter. 12 hours on low before pureeing. Then 3 hours in high to drive off the water and thicken (not shown). The flavor and texture are AMAZING!

I made this one up based on other recipes. I call it Holly Jolly jam. It is a hybrid of  of soft set, no pectin jam and fruit butter spread. Apples, oranges, pears, apples, cranberries with warm winter spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves). It gelled beautifully. I like it on warm toasty bread and in my thick oatmeal. Yum!

I have spent many months working on my baking skills. Especially sourdough. I had a little fiasco and lost both of my sourdough starters to accidents. I had a back up in the freezer, which I successfully revived after 7 agonizing days. They have since been named Thing 1 (fed with  KAF white whole wheat) and Thing 2 (fed with KAF White AP unbleached).  They are very happy yeasty beasties. Thing 1 gives me a more rapid rapid but collapses more quickly. Thing 2 a little slower to rise, but holds the rise with minimal collapse for almost 12 hours).

I am still learning the correct ratios of other grains for multi grain sourdough. The texture is good, I am working on the rise and slashing. 

I have learned to make my own snack crackers from the sourdough discards.

Work is great! I work from home full time now, which makes me very happy. I did have to make concessions though. I had to give up my dressing room to have a full time office. Downsizing from a 6ft x 14ft to 4ft x 5ft closet space was challenging, but surprisingly, now that I am settled in, I love both spaces. A requirement for my job is continuing education (so that I retain my credentials).  I finished a class in December and  begin a new class mid January for SIXTEEN weeks-oy! That'll keep me a busy.

Christmas was great! I really enjoyed decorating this year.

My Porch

My Dining Room

My Living Room

My Dogs, heh

I made a few sweets to share with friends, family and a couple of neighbors.

I have some new hobbies/ interests which are great for my mental health.  We have a few projects ongoing. Which is bad for the ol' bank account and WHY I have new hobbies/ interests (besides baking, canning and sewing).

I have hope for 2018, that it will be better, happier, healthier and more productive.

I plan to continue to work on me, work on my social skills/ interactions, work on my house, work on my garden, spend more time with my family, to be more adventurous and resume my blogging activities.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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