Custom Canning Box

Okay sis,  

We talked the other day about canned goods, but I can’t remember what you told me that you have left.  So, I figured I would let you pick out the canned goodies you want.  Here is what I have

Apple Butter & Pear Butter

Apple, Apple Blueberry, Pear, and Peach Strawberry Pie Fillings

Peach Jam

Peaches and Pears soaked in honey water

Applesauce (chunky kind)

Let me know what you want in your box!

Love, Jamiegoof

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Beef Barley Stew

Dear Sis,

Our Texas winter finally arrived. The day after Christmas, the rain brought in the cold and it seems like it is going to stick around. Naturally, my response is to make soup!

Beef Barley Stew

Beef Barley Stew
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c butter
  2. 2 lb. beef, cubed
  3. 1/3 c brown sugar
  4. 1/4 c Worcestershire
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 6 carrots, coined
  7. 11 oz pkg. quick barley
  8. 16 oz pkg. frozen green beans
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot over medium-low heat, combine butter, beef, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and onion. Add enough water to cover beef. Simmer covered 2 hours.
  2. Add carrots and barley. Boil 10-12 minutes, till barley is cooked.
  3. Stir in green beans. Stand 10 minutes before serving.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
This stew is great served over mashed potatoes or with buttered bread:) Keep Warm!

Love,

b

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Sick

Hey Sis,

I’m sick, and there is no big sister around to make me jello, tea and soup, buy me cough drops and cater to all my whims.

Don’t worry, I’m a big girl… so I’m not whining or anything.  I’m just sobbing uncontrolably in my pillow.

Love,

a sick jamiegoof

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Christmas

Hey Sis,

You’re two years older then me, so you’ve celebrated holidays without me.  (And yes, I know they where so awful, that you can’t even remember them. hehehehe) But, this was my first Christmas without you.  Don’t worry, I had a great time without you!  But, there where many occasions when I wished you where there!

My celebration, was actually all week.  Nate didn’t have work, so we spend the entire week together!  We meet up on Sunday night with Nate’s friend, headed to Ruby Tuesdays for dinner, and watched some of the Miss Universe Competition. Unfortunately, I arrived at the tail end of the costume contest!

Miss-Venezuela-620x414

After dinner, we went to the movie theater.  Can you guess what we watched??? Star Wars!!!  Nate is a big Star Wars nut, and I might enjoy the movies too.  The new one was pretty good.  The plot followed right into the previous movies, and was decently planed. The main character was a girl named Ray (I have something against people giving girls boys names,) but since it was a space movie, I actually thought her name was was pretty cool and fitting.

We ended up back at Carmin’s house for three days, and worked on Bunker Hill together.  Nate and I picked out a floor, and put it down ourselves.  (Okay, Carmin cut all the pieces… and we put it down)  Nate also worked on the electrical.  He put up most of the light fixtures in the house, and was replacing switches, fishing wires, (and trying to fix the mess of electrical we had in the house) this week!  The house is almost done, and soon I will send you some pictures!

On Christmas Eve, we car-pooled with mom and her boyfriend.  We ended up at Uncle Charlie’s and Aunt Krissy’s this year.  Uncle Charlie told us that he has spoke to you for a good half and hour on the phone, an everyone ended up talking about how sweet you are, and how they wished you where closer.  Then we sat down to some greasy appetizers.  Thankfully, health nut mom brought some veggies.  Her boyfriend brought a very interesting and tasty elderberry topped cheesecake.  

Mother gifted me with a photo album, and I was surprised to discover that mom didn’t have many photos of us kids.  So, I will be going through my collection and sending her all my duplicates!  If you could do that same, that would be fantastic! 

Nate and I joined little Charlie in the basement, for awhile.  We ended up petting the cats, and talked about various things.  He and Nate both like video games, but unfortunately aren’t fans of the same games.  I didn’t see much of Lauren.  She arrived later with her boyfriend, ate, and ran off to the barn to care for her horses.

Grandpa joined Nate and I in the living room, and talked to us for awhile.  Grandma was her adorable self, and surprised us when she stood up and started dancing to a Pink Floyd song. lol  

The next morning Nate and I awoke, and started wrapping our gifts.  I made peanut brittle, peppermint bark, cinnamon and peppermint glass candy, and apple butter for everyone.  Here are the recipes I think you may enjoy.

Peppermint Bark
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Ingredients
  1. 24 oz of white chocolate
  2. 8 oz of star peppermint candies (half of an 16 oz bag)
Instructions
  1. Unwrap star peppermint candies and place in a freezer bag. Smash candies with rolling pin.
  2. Melt 24 oz of white chocolate in microwave.
  3. Stir in crushed peppermint.
  4. Let cool on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Put in fridge, if house is hot.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Glass Candy
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 3 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  4. 3/4 t food coloring
  5. 3/4 teaspoon, or on dram of candy oil flavoring
  6. 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil; butter generously and set aside.
  2. In heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine water, sugar, corn syrup, and stir in food coloring.
  3. Over medium heat, bring to boil, stir occasionally.
  4. Cover, cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Uncover. Place in candy thermometer.
  6. Cook till thermometer is at 300 degrees, also known as the hard crack stage.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir, in candy oil (keep face as far away as possible, fumes from the oil will be very strong)
  9. Immediately poor into prepared pan.
  10. Cool
  11. Break candy into pieces and sprinkle both sides with confectioner's sugar.
  12. Store in airtight container or bags.
Notes
  1. You can use whatever flavor of candy oil that you desire. The options are endless!
  2. If it is your first time making candy, realize that you need to measure all your ingredients and have everything prepared, before you start the recipe. Candy involves a lot of pot watching, and then scrambling.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Nate had a lot of fun with his gifts.  He got his mother a mixing bowl set, his step-father a Scooby-Do golf club topper (he loves German Shepards),  his younger brother a some darts and money (he likes to play beer darts), his older brother little rockets, and he got his father some paints.

His father just took up painting, and asked for some supplies, so Nate drove to Michele’s with me, and loaded my arms up with every color he thought his dad would need.  I ended up dropping a few, because he got excited and pilled on more then I could hold. lol. 

We then drove out to Grandma Cooper’s, and had a very nice time with the family that showed.  Poor Uncle Frank has been very sick, and Aunt Mary and the two toddlers where also not feeling their best.  But, we had a wonderful lunch together.  Afterwards, Laura whom was exhausted from work, ended up falling asleep in a not very comfortable looking chair.

Taylon was gifted a puzzle from Grandma, where he had to match up the number of fruit in one picture to a number from 1 – 20.  He skipped nap time, and was feeling very fussy, but he wouldn’t put down that puzzle.  He worked on it, trough frustration and tears, for a good hour or so. He always picks educational games as his favorites.  He also spent a lot of time wrestling with Jayden, whom just joined a wrestling team at school.

April was out of town, joining her boyfriends family for Christmas.  Matt, is turning eighteen in a couple of weeks, and has started to apply for colleges. He gave Grandma his senior photo, and she said we needed to have him blood tested.  He looks so different from the rest of the family, she jokes that there must have been a baby swap at the hospital.

Around four, Nate and I jumped into the car and drove to his mother’s place.  Everyone was already there, and Nate’s two brothers where anxious to open their presents.  Nate’s younger brother made the mistake of buying his two older brothers nerf guns. They where very appreciative, and ended up using all their bullets to shot him.  I was unfortunately sitting next to Mason at the time of fire, but both boys have a pretty good aim. lol

Everyone seemed to really like their gifts. Mason got a big chuckle when he saw the darts, and the $5.00 from Nate. (Nate labeled the $5.00 for “quality beer”.)  The candy went over well, and everyone was happy about the apple butter!  Nate’s mother and step-father got him a very thick jacket, so he doesn’t have to wear his work jacket at the chicken farm! She also picked out some very nice clear bags for me to put my knitting in, a very pretty Cookie Jar (to Nate’s pleasure) the world’s sturdiest metal measuring cups, and a few other practical goodies! Nate had a lot of fun looking at the two books his bother got him.

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We all snacked on sandwiches and other goodies, and made our way into the dinning room to play lier’s dice.  Nate taught it to us, and it was a total blast!  You should play sometime.  All players get a cup and five dice.  They role their dice, and hide them from all the other players, and players take turns saying how many dice (of a type) they think are on the table, until the person next to them thinks they are lying.  Once they are called out, the dice are reviewed, and whomever was wrong looses a die.  When you loose all five dice, you loose the game.

After playing games, we all went to bed.  In the morning we crept out of bed slowly, ate some fresh baked cinnamon rolls, and went out to bowl.  And I have to say sis, I really missed not having you there! Because you are the only person that is worse then me at bowling.  So, I scored last place in all but one game. lol.  We then headed to a Mexican Restaurant for lunch, and split ways. 

The next day, we headed to Nate’s father’s house.  We opened up gifts first.  I was feeling guilty giving Nate’s diabetic father candy for Christmas, eggs, and apple butter (he doesn’t really like fruit), but he was pretty happy.  Turns out, he really likes apple butter, and we needed the eggs for baking!  Nate’s father also was very pleased with all the paints Nate got him! 

He gave Nate a book on movies to watch, and few good classic movies (like the Rear Window), chairs to one brother (zero gravity chairs… they where kinda neat), and sweaters to the other boy.  Melissa got bracelets, and he gave me a pretty pair of painted glass butterfly sun catchers.  After gifts, Nate’s father announced that cookies needed baked, and that he got his jeep stuck in the mud and he could really use three strapping young men to push him out!  Mellissa and I quickly volunteered to bake the cookies, and the boys headed outside to the jeep.

Melissa and I had fun making cookies, and trying to find the measuring cups. lol. But, we had the peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles well started, by the time the boys came in.  Aaron then decided to fly his drone, and managed to get it stuck in a tree.  The boys tried shaking the tree, ladders, and nets, to no avail.  So, they yanked out the chainsaw, that got it down.

When they came back in, they decided to play Risk.  Yuck!  I told them the someone needed to keep an eye on the baking cookies, and they conned poor Melissa into playing.  She had fun for the first hour, but by hour three she realized how boring that game can truly be.  Finally they finished, and we ate lunch.  After lunch, we played a few more games, and headed out.  And the Christmas fun week as over 🙁

How was your holiday week?

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Miss Brandy’s Cheesecake

Dear Sis,

We spent Christmas Eve with the Littles and family. This time I only brought dessert and vegetable sides. …dessert first!

I haven’t made a proper cheesecake in years. Partially because I haven’t had a spring form pan. I found a new one at Homegoods a month ago, so naturally I had to break it in. 

Before meeting Josh, I made cheesecake all the time. After baking many cheesecakes with many recipes, I came up with my own formula, which formed quite the reputation, and was named by my sewing pupils, “Miss Brandy’s Cheesecake.”

Cheesecake

Miss Brandy's Cheesecake
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Graham Crust
  1. 2 c graham cracker crumbs
  2. 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  3. 1/2 t cinnamon
  4. 1/4 c crushed walnuts (optional)
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. 2 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, soft
  2. 1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/2 c granulated sugar
  5. 2 t vanilla bean paste
  6. 1/2 t almond extract
  7. 1/4 t salt
Graham Crust
  1. For crust, combine all ingredients and press into a spring form pan. Chill until set.
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. For filling, beat all ingredients until smooth. Scrape into crust.
  3. Cover with foil. Bake 1 hour - 1 hour 15 min.
  4. Cool 2 - 4 hours at room temp. Chill an additional 2 - 4 hours before serving.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
 When I told Josh I was making Cheesecake, he asked if he needed to go to the store to get raspberries. I can take a hint!

Raspberry Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (6 oz) package fresh raspberries
  2. 3 - 6 T granulated sugar
  3. 3 T cold water
  4. 1 T cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Rinse berries. Place in a saucepan over medium heat, mash berries. Cook until solid berries become a liquid.
  2. Stir in sugar, 1 T at a time, to taste.
  3. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Stir into berry mixture. Cook stirring until mixture thickens slightly.
  4. Drizzle over cake, cheesecake, or ice cream warm or chilled.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
 The salad got rave reviews!

Orange Pomegranate Salad
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Dressing
  1. 2 T olive oil
  2. 1 T buttermilk
  3. 1 T orange juice
  4. 2 t orange zest
  5. 1 t apple cider vinegar
  6. 1 t dijon mustard
  7. dash salt
Salad
  1. 4 c torn romaine lettuce, rinsed & dried
  2. 4 mandarine oranges, peeled & sliced
  3. 1 1/2 c pomegranate seeds
  4. 1/4 c shallot, minced
  5. 1/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
  6. 1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  7. salt and pepper, to taste
Dressing
  1. Whisk together all ingredients.
Salad
  1. Toss together lettuce and dressing.
  2. Top with remaining salad ingredients in a large shallow serving dish.
  3. Dust with salt and pepper. Serve
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
 … another blast-from-the-past recipe:)

Broccoli Corn Medley
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Ingredients
  1. 2 T ghee
  2. 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets
  3. 1 1/2 c frozen corn
  4. 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  5. 4 green onion, chopped
  6. shredded Parmesan
  7. ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add frozen vegetable. Cover and cook until heated through.
  2. Stir in red pepper and green onion. Cook a few minutes more until green onions wilt and red pepper becomes fragrant.
  3. Pour into serving dish. Top with Parmesan and ground pepper.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Love,

b

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Yummy Mac and Cheese

Hey Sis,

I have started to make homemade Mac and Cheese, as I really don’t like the after taste of the boxed stuff.  Here is my new recipe:

IMG_0769

Mac and Cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 16 oz box mini shell pasta
  2. 1/4 c butter
  3. 10.75 oz can cheddar cheese soup
  4. 8 oz can evaporated milk
  5. 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles.
  2. Add butter & soup.
  3. Stir in milk and cheese.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
 I ended up making salisbury steaks and peas to go with the mac and cheese.  The boys loved it!  

I also thought you would enjoy a photo, of the pretty flowers Nate got for me. I’m not sure what they are, do you know?

IMG_0770

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

Dear Sis,

Nate prophesied our dinner!

Broccoli Cheese Soup II

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, chopped
  2. 2 c vegetable broth
  3. 1/2 c unsalted butter
  4. 2/3 c unbleached flour
  5. 4 c milk
  6. 3 c shredded cheddar
  7. 1 c shredded swiss
  8. 1 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets, chopped
  9. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Simmer onion in stock, in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a stockpot over medium heat, make a roux with butter and flour.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook stirring until thick. Stir in onion stock.
  4. Stir cheese in 1 cup at a time, until melted. Stir in broccoli and heat through before serving.
Adapted from Crumbs and Chaos
Adapted from Crumbs and Chaos
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

 Served with Buttered Sourdough Bread

Broccoli Cheese Soup III

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Love,

b

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