I had an incredible crop of oranges this year, very sweet and juicy too. So since I can’t seem to give enough away and use the rest myself, marmalade it is. I LOVE marmalade especially when it’s slightly on the bitter side but my two boys love it sweet, so I tried it two ways and both were delicious and easy.

Marmalade #1
8 cups of oranges diced fine, or chopped fine in food processor
4 cups sugar
juice of 2-3 lemons
1 box pectin

Bring oranges, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and cook for ab. 20 min. Add pectin and cook an additional 20 min. or until the mixture smoothly coats the back of a spoon. Now you can preserve the marmalade or simply put in clean jars and eat it up.

Orange Marmalade #2

8 cups of oranges peeled and diced or chopped fine in food processor
rind of ab. 2 oranges sliced thin with most of the pith removed
4 cups of sugar
2-3 lemons juiced
1 box of pectin

Bring orange, Orange peel, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and cook for ab. 20 min. Add pectin and continue at a boil for another 20 min. or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon smoothly. Now can the marmalade or place into clean jars and enjoy.

I did try both canning and just throwing it into jars and eating it quick. Trouble was my husband wouldn’t eat that much and my son doesn’t eat much marmalade, I ended up giving it out to others and keeping the preserved stuff for myself. I didn’t have a canner but I did find a slue of resources on the interne to help me and had pretty good results with my first real canning attempt. If you’ve never canned before give it a shot, it’s well worth the effort.

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I remember when I was younger we would always get a chocolate orange for Christmas. I still love that flavor. So having a Navel Orange tree in my yard I’ve decided to try some sweet recipes.
First up… Orange Truffles.

Orange Truffles

8 oz 60% chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp orange juice or orange extract (whichever you prefer)
Zest of 1 orange
Cocoa Powder

In a double boiler or a microwavable bowl melt together cream and chocolate. When this is nice and smooth, add in orange zest and juice.
Refrigerate for at least 30 min. When set, roll into small balls and coat with cocoa powder. Enjoy

*I don’t roll into perfect spheres, I scoop it and make a smooth oval using two teaspoons.

My sister turned me on to baking my cranberry sauce since you just pop it in the oven and forget it. The only problem is that both of us forgot what exactly we put in it. So here is my version that I did this year, I really enjoyed it.

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted
ab. 2/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
small pinch of cloves and ginger
zest of one orange
ab. 1/4 cup orange juice or dark liquor, such as brandy, rum or cognac

Spread out cranberries in a 9×12 cake pan, sprinkle on brown sugar and spices (might be a good idea to mix sugar and spices together first). Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for ab. 1 hr. When the cranberries are soft remove and immediately add in zest and liquid. Stir and let sit til cool.

I suppose you can add more sugar or less depending on how sweet you like it. I prefer mine to have some tartness left, but I found recipes calling for up to 2 cups white sugar. I have always replaced white sugar with brown in my cranberry sauce recipe since I like the flavor better.

I can’t really judge on the success of the recipe with my family though, not many of them enjoy fresh cranberry sauce.

I have a pot of thyme on my porch that I haven’t really used too much, I have only used it dry in spaghetti and such stuff. We were having a barbeque yesterday, and so I decided to use a bunch of it. Even my picky eater husband loved the results.

Thyme to Eat Burgers
1lb hamburger meat
1/2 c onions, minced
2Tbsp A-1 sauce
2 heaping Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and then grill. Enjoy!

Garlic-Thyme Buttery Corn

1/2 c butter, softened
4 cloved garlic, minced
2 heaping Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
6 ears of corn, shucked
salt and pepper to taste

Mix garlic and thyme into butter, I like to use the back of a large spoon and mash the garlic even more.
add salt and pepper into butter. Spread mixture over corn, and wrap in tin foil. Grill for 30-40 min, turning at the 15 min mark.

This recipe was suppose to be spicy, but it just didn’t have the bite. It is one I’ll have to adjust to my families likings. The flavor was good though.

8 chicken drumsticks
4 cloves of garlic
2 cayenne peppers
salt
pepper
vegetable oil

chop garlic and cayenne peppers finely.

Add garlic, peppers, salt, pepper and enough oil to make a proper marinade (I just eyeballed it) to a ziploc bag, or bowl.

Add chicken to the mixture and coat. Marinade 24hrs

Cook over a grill, or at 425 in the oven for 40 min.
If it is sufficiently spicy, it can pair with a nice blue cheese dip, with celery.

Finally a red tomato!

I can’t wait until I have ripe veggies fresh from my garden.

Plus my pear squash is getting ripe too. Hmmm, now I have to figure out recipes that my family will eat…..

I couldn’t resist writing a short little blurb about my son. Rome is eight and use to be a very picky eater.

Here he is with a friend enjoying ice cream, yum!
He actually came up with a way to break himself of not eating anything. On Easter we go to a friends house and they smoke a whole pig, head and all. Let’s just say that Rome eats the head and all.

That isn’t the prime meat in that bowl. I decided that it was against my best interest to tell him not to eat the brains, eyes, tongue, and ear of the pig; better to let him try it. I’m just glad that the piggy smoked this year was a girl, or else his dad would have had him eat off the other end of the pig, Ugh.
Well, since he’s decided that he loves eating smoked eyeballs and brains, he is now no longer allowed NOT to at least try new things. Worked like a charm!

My first recipe here, hurray!! I was once told I was the queen of hummus, can’t argue with good taste. This is a very simple recipe and goes good with many things, I especially love this with fresh cut vegetables.
Here is the recipe I use for roasting my garlic Simple and easy, I like to do 2 heads for the hummus recipe, but one will do.
Once your garlic is cooled enough to smoosh out of it’s skin you can start the main recipe.

1 can of Chick peas (garbanzo beans), reserve liquid if desired
ab 1-2 Tbsp of Tahini (sesame seed butter)
Juice of 1 lemon, as well as the zest
1-2 heads of Roasted Garlic
Olive oil, or use the reserved chick pea liquid
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper

Using a food processor, Blend all ingredients well, using the reserved liquid or olive oil to achieve desired thickness. I like to make this a little ahead of time so the flavors have time to meld, and then serve with whatever you want.

My sister told me I had to start a blog, since I’m always trying new recipes and learning to make them my own.

I am also a new home buyer and have started my first vegetable garden. I have always had a brown thumb ( I’ve killed catuses by not watering them), this may be a good way of chronicling my progress and my mistakes.

Well here goes nothing.

    This year I was simply going to prep for a garden, but then my husband came to me and offered to help build it and prep the dirt, how could I refuse.  It came out pretty good for only spending about $30 for the lumber, nails and plants.

     Living in the San Joaquin Valley does have it’s perks, I have never had such luck with plants before. I have just enough room behind my garage to have a 4×8 ft garden with some room behind it if I want to plant raspberries or blackberries. I have also found out that a north-south facing home is great for getting tons of sunlight for the front and back yard, a bonus with vegetable gardens.  Of course there are drawbacks, such as cats trying to use my garden as their own personal litterbox, Ugh.

     So far I have killed two watermelon plants, one armenian cucumber and totally tanked at growing cilantro and spinach. I found out that cilantro and spinach are only good for seed if they shoot up to fast.  I have also discovered that bird house gourds are really,really big plants, and if I’m not careful it will choke out my other plants.  I think that’s a pretty good start in my learning process.

Anyways, here’s to fresh veggies and growing them yourself.