Kitchen Science AKA 42% less humbugs than previous weekends

Well life is up and down, but mostly up. I'll take it for now. I'm feeling a bit less haggard - I was able to spend some time this weekend making Christmas stuff so I don't feel like as much of a humbug. I had all these Christmas schemes that weren't happening and it was adding to all the rest of the crap going on to make me feel pretty low. I love Christmas. I love making things for Christmas and I finally got to do some of that.

This weekend I was finally able to have somewhat of a normal weekend and since it was hoth cold  on saturday (we're talking -38C with the wind - it's been ridiculous this past few weeks) I spent the day with my own personal My Drunk Kitchen drinking crabapple wine and baking up some Christmas gifts. Some gluten free baking and other baking for family. Shortbread and peanut butter cookies for us regular folks and gluten free mint and peanut butter cookies for my sis-in-law and bro-in-law's new girlfriend. I tried Robin Hood gluten free flour and I must say I'm unimpressed - it's very gritty. I won't be getting it again....I still have some flour free sugar free cookies to make for my bro and his wife (I know - is that even a cookie anymore?) but I have no almond flour so I will be doing those some time this week along with some nuts and bolts and some homemade baileys when I get the ingredients...probably wednesday night.
On sunday the cold snap lifted so I could finally can things without the house windows freezing up entirely. So I canned some christmas gifts - nan-king cherry vanilla bean jelly (seriously delicious), cranberry apple butter and some roasted garlic balsamic jelly. The garlic jelly I have made before but this time it set super wierdly and might have a super hard granular texture to it. It said to use 2 X the pectin but it called for liquid pectin. I used powder this time since i didn't feel like driving jsut for pectin..maybe that was the problem? Ah's not as pretty but still tastes OK. It was too elaborate to remake so I'll crack a jar to make sure it's not too granular and hopefully it's still giftworthy. I'm obsessive about texture so I hope it's still tasty.

I learned something about canning after years of canning and is likely why some of my jellies never set - you add the pectin first and boil hard a minute and THEN you add the sugar all at once and mix it super well and boil it again for a minute. Not the other way around or you can't guarantee the proper reaction. I used to add the sugar first and taste it and then thicken. The chemistry needs it this way to work best. Now I!

I have a few gifts to buy for my nieces this'll happen. I'm also gonna be the lame auntie and just send money to my niece and nephew and their families in Ontario. I may even be email transferring funds - how festive is that...? Kinda lame I know, but the last few weeks have really made my life difficult and I am so behind. Rather than not get them a gift on time I'd rather just do that and not waste money on postage when I'm not sure what they need anyways. It's not their fault my life is a drama-fest. I have something to sew for my new little nephew, but also have another gift for him so if I don't get it done it's not that big of a deal...

At any rate, I should get to it. It was nice enough that I could walk to work this morning (only -14 with the wind - positively tropical darling!). After a workout I feel decent. Ready for my day and for a nice lunch out with coworkers. Here's to a better week...

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