Holiday Wishes

These last few weeks have been a blur. It's busy at Firefly Fibers year round, but even more so once the weather cools. With the addition of the holiday season, busy is an understatement and it's really been a blur since Thanksgiving. I spent a fair amount of time brainstorming handmade gift ideas - initially I had grand knitting visions and then reality set in and reluctantly, I adjusted. Being that I didn't have a chance to get started on holiday gifts until this last Sunday (yes, 3 days ago and today is Christmas Day), I'm happy to say that I am done and really have enjoyed the last few days at home.


Plans quickly shifted last week from handmade yarn projects to homemade canning projects due to the time constraints - no need to worry, yarn has been assembled into various projects, but I can't divulge details... yet. As for the canning, I went a little cranberry crazy.


I love cranberries! Every year I make cranberry relish in a huge batch when cranberries are in season and freeze for year round enjoyment. I also love the Food In Jars blog and was intrigued when a simple recipe came up last month for Spiced Cranberry Jam. Then, right at the bottom of the post before the recipe was a link to her Pickled Cranberries. After admitting that the gifting plans had to be adjusted, this is what I went back to. And rather than torment myself with having to choose one of the two recipes, I decided both were going on the holiday 'to do' list - in double-batch quantities, of course. 


It felt a little like I was going off the deep end as it was happening, but I couldn't help myself. If one batch was what the recipe called for, it only made 'sense' that I get enough for a double-batch and double-batch I did. After the initial 11 - 12oz bags and a second trip for 3 more, we were set! Really, who wouldn't be set with 10+ lbs of cranberries? I'm now brimming with pride as I see the jars lined up and know I only went a little crazy.


The jam was super easy! After sorting and washing 6 lbs of cranberries, I removed the rind from the lemons and oranges with a veggie peeler, juiced them, added ginger root and let the food processor take care of the 'zesting' for me.Super easy and the finished product is delicious - we enjoyed some last night with cream cheese on crackers!


The pickled cranberries were also easy and I can't wait to try them - they have to set for 24 hours before enjoying to let the flavors do their thing. How am I going to wait that long?!

We finished tying up loose ends last night and we'll hit the road to head north for Christmas with hubby's Grandma this morning. Then Sunday we'll be off to his mom's for a second gathering. Both are sure to be enjoyable and relaxing. I'll report back soon on the feedback on the cranberry concoctions and the other holiday bits I can't reveal quite yet.

Warm holiday wishes to you and yours! Alisa

Sauerkraut, Salsa and Rainy Days

Life has been crazy the last couple weeks, but things are calming down. I am, in fact, knocking on wood right now.

As I shared recently, we had a date with hubby's family to attend what has now become an annual sauerkraut making event. I've always enjoyed sauerkraut and we've been gifted homemade for years, but the tradition is now being passed down and 2 weekends ago, we attended our 3rd DIY kraut event. IMG_20131031_130100It's a relatively simple process with simple supplies: food processor, cabbage, salt, a bucket (ours was previously used for icing) and a good strong kraut smusher.

IMG_20131031_130302What is a kraut smusher, you ask? Well, this is ours and I suspect this is why we're invited. *wink* 

IMG_20131031_130537After layering shredded cabbage and salt, elbow grease is added and this happens:

IMG_20131031_130910Cool, huh? Our bucket of kraut is now fermenting in our basement and will be ready to eat in a few weeks. I can't wait! The day wrapped up with a delicious meal of dumplings, roast pork, sauerkraut, and apple crumble. All in all, a pretty fabulous day!

I also spent some time in the kitchen last week - shocking, I know. Taking the Veggie Fairy's warning that the peppers she delivered were "H.O.T.", I used these lovely veggies for One Tomato, Two Tomato's Roasted Garden Salsa.

VeggieFairyFollowing a recipe is a rare thing for me and I'm so glad I did - it's fabulous and easy!

After adding some of our garden tomatoes, I ended up with 5 pints:

IMG_20131023_102416 I haven't been in the kitchen much this week. Mr. Joey wasn't feeling well over the weekend and has been at the vet since Monday. After a few days in their care, I'm happy to report that he's feeling much better and coming home today. At nearly 13 years old, we know he's an old boy and we're lucky to have a little more time with him.

The last few days have reminded me how quiet a house without a bossy Siberian Husky is and I can't wait to have a full house again! Neither can this guy:

IMG_20131031_131123When it rains, Mr. Logan seriously debates how bad he really has to 'go'. For a dog that's 'all dog', I always find this quirk of his amusing!

I've also been knitting - a lot - so I'll be back with some yarny updates very soon.

Cheers! Alisa