A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.


Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Monday, that means its Blog Day!

As many of you know, I have a blog where I post reviews of the books I've read, called Rainy Day Reads at: http://lenoragood.blogspot.com.  I seldom post reviews of books I disliked; in fact, I seldom finish a book if I dislike it, so most of the books I review get 4 or 5 stars, some 3, and I think there is one, possibly two, 2 in the mix.

Last July I bought and read an electronic version of A Month in Mongolia –by Barbara A. B. Seiders. I loved it. I enjoyed it so much, I not only gave it a 5 Star rating, I also bought the hard copy, so I can pull it off the shelf and look at the photos at any time I want. And read the words, even if my eReader isn't charged ;-). 


The pictures on the Kindle are good, and can be expanded, and there are hot links to maps, etc., but I like a hard copy of whatever nonfiction I'm reading when possible ;-). I also read travel books of our Southwest, and of Mongolia, and any other place that looks even mildly interesting.

Sometimes, I follow a subject, such as Ancient China, and will read as many books as I can find and afford on the subject. (I have over six linear feet of books on China, most on Ancient China, and most nonfiction.) Sometimes, I follow an author, such as John Man, an historian and travel writer. I've bought and read just about all of his books. The ones that aren't in my collection will be as soon as I determine which ones they are and where to buy them.

My six-foot shelf of books on China. I have more books on China, stacked here and there
throughout the house

 If I'm reading a history, or memoir (both of which I love) or any other nonfiction, I want the Truth of the situation as much as possible. Always, of course, keeping in mind that history is written by the victor. Even when written centuries after the subject, the historian/writer must use sources that, for the most part, favor the victor/survivor. But not always. Especially in this day and age of instant social media. Alas, I seldom read 'modern' history. If I'm reading fiction, I want escape. I don't want someone's problems, unless they are going to solve them. I want a happy ever after ending at best and a thoughtful ending otherwise.

The books I read are an eclectic bunch. I read nonfiction and fiction, history and memoir, science fiction and fantasy, so if you're ever in the mood for a good read, but just don't know what book you want, check out the books on Rainy Day Reads. And, if you're thinking of buying Rainy Day a present just because she's such a nice person, I prefer my nonfiction in hard copy (used is fine and often preferred), and my fiction electronically. Interestingly enough, there's been some research that people who read hard copy books retain the information longer than when they read electronic books. Maybe that's one reason I like my nonfiction in hard copy and my fiction electronically?

I also have another blog, Rainy Day Reviews at http://rainydaysmovieoftheweek.blogspot.com where I review the movies I've watched. Again, most of the reviews get high marks, because if I don't like a movie, I don't watch it long enough to review it. Again, it's an eclectic collection, but each review is kept to 150 words. Many of the movies are Asian, with subtitles, and the movies run the gamut from Samurai to memoir, from family to adult only, I'm a fan of Akira Kurosawa so there are several of his movies, and I'm in deep lust with Peter Dinklage, so there are a few of his, too.;-) I do let my readers know if it is violent and or there is a lot of sex.

Then, of course, there is this blog, which is always a crapshoot as to what will show up. (crapshoot  1. A toss up, roll of the dice, or a gamble. Anything could happen. www.urbandictionary.com ) I've even opened up the discussion, as to what you, my readers would like me to write about, and I get no responses, so apparently you like whatever I write. Or are too polite to tell me otherwise ;-)

And with that, Gentle Reader, I bid you a fantastical and marvelous week. Go forth, read books however you like them, laugh every day and keep a smile on your face.

A few of my favorite things




Monday, October 13, 2014

The Days of Madness have passed....

The world, or at least my kitchen, is safe for a few more months;-)

At first, we thought Paco Belle was the Kitchen Porter as she seemed interested in keeping the floor cleaned of dropped foodstuffs, but soon decided she was the Kitchen Demon we accidentally summoned. We thought we were relieved, for a spell, by using garlic in so many things (Not, I hasten to mention, the strawberry jam!) until my sister Melanie, reminded us that garlic only works on Vampires, not Demons. However, we persevered....

Paco Belle aka The Kitchen Demon
 And ended up making a new record, after promising ourselves we weren't going to be quite as crazy-mad as before. We put up 533 jars of jams, relishes, chutneys, etc. (NOTE: I did not do, nor did I check, the math.) Yes, many were 4 oz, but it takes as much work to fill and process 4 oz as it does 8 or 12 oz jars, actually more as we can only put 7 at a time in the water bath. We just have to do it more often ;-) We each now have about 177 jars to keep, enjoy, or give to friends and family ;-)

Canton Ginger the first to be jarred.

Went through slightly less than 100 lbs of sugar, 12 cups of which went into making brown sugar (4 cups sugar, 1 cup molasses, mix well. A pastry cutter works well.)

Apple &c Chutney
20 lbs of chopped onion
Chopped about 25 lbs of onions, of which we used all but a scant cup. There were 5 jalapenos and 8 or so bell peppers left over. They are now fire roasted and will go into the freezer—or my dinner ;-)










We used all the jars purchased, and several more already on hand. Jars and rings cost money, and if people give you home canned goods, please return the jars and rings to them. The flats (lids) can be trashed, as they can't safely be reused. Of course if you have to mail them, then you're forgiven for not returning them, but please either reuse them yourself, or donate them to someone who will use them. Do Not recycle with your garbage. Please.

boiling Jalapeño Jelly

Strawberry Jam

Onion Jam with roasted garlic

 Below is the list of what we made. If you want some, please let me know (by email), in order, your top six picks. No guarantee, but I'll have an idea of what you like/want. Then we'll just have to meet for the 'hand-off' ;-)




List of Jams, etc. from the 2014 Jamathon
Low Sugar
Recipe
12 oz. jars
8 oz. jars *
4 oz. jars

Canton ginger

15


Victorian BBQ sauce (rhubarb) (x2) – Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (ISBN 978-0778801313), p. 259.

12
6

Plum Ketchup

14
8

Gingered Asian Pear Marmalade

14

Nectarine Lemon Basil Preserves

3
8

Onion Jam (x4) (2 double batches)

21
10

Blueberry-Rhubarb Jam

6
6

Gingered Nectarine Honey
6
15
6

Apple-Rhubarb Chutney – Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (ISBN 978-0778801313), p. 239

6

x
Strawberry Jam (x2) [added 4Tbs rosewater, 4Tbs lemon juice, 2.5C Sugar, 1tsp Ca-water, 4tsp pectin]

6
6
x
Raspberry (rose) (x2) [8C raspberry puree, 2oz rosewater, 2C sugar]

6
7

Nectarine Chutney (Peach Chutney recipe) (x2)

16
9
x
Nectarine Lemon Basil Jam with Honey – adapted from Nectarine Lemon Verbena Jam with Honey – Preserving by the Pint (ISBN 978-0762449682), pg. 65

6
5

Mango Nectarine Chutney (X4) [2 batches regular, 2 batches with 2oz jalapeno. use 3 oz. next time]

15
20

Summer Squash Relish (x4!!!)
15
9
4
x
Blueberry Jam [lime juice]

3
3
x
Blueberry-Blackberry Jam [lemon juice]

3
3
x
Strawberry-Blueberry Jam (x2)

6
8
x
Strawberry with Rosewater (x2) [1/4C rosewater, 3C sugar, 4 tsp Ca-water, 4 tsp pectin]

6
9
x
Strawberry-Nectarine-Basil (x4) [1/2C basil leaves, 1/2C lime juice, 6C sugar, pectin 9 tsp, Ca-water 12 tsp

15
15

Nectarine Pepper Relish (x2) – Well Preserved - Small Batch Preserving for the New Cook (ISBN 978-1552859889), p. 160 [very salty, rinse better next time]


9
8

Jalapeno Jelly (3 regular batches, 1 batch with 1 habanero)

31
11

Damson Plum [juice and zest of one orange] (11.5 c puree)

10
9

Damson Plum with Crystallized Ginger (11.5C Puree) [3/4C minced crystallized ginger]

6
9
x
Rhubarb Jam

10
x
Strawberry-Blackberry-Rhubarb Jam (5.0:2.5:0.5 ratio) [2.5 Tbl lemon juice, 4 tsp Ca-water, 4 tsp pectin, 3C sugar]

6
6
x
Nectarine Jam with Ginger (x2)

6
9
x
Apricot Raisin Chutney with Almonds

13
9
x
Strawberry Nectarine Orange Jam [Orange Water, 1/4c Orange Juice, Zest Of One Orange]

3
4
x
Nectarine-Jalapeno Jam (x2) [4 jalapeno, lime juice]

6
9
x
Nectarine with Ginger & Cardamom (x2)

6
8
x
Spiced Nectarine Jam (x2) [8C puree, 1tsp allspice, 1tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves]

6
8

GRAND TOTAL IS
21
285
247

Bolded and underlined numbers in the 8-oz. column are wide-mouth jars.


531 Jars of Yumminess