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Apple Jam

Morning Peeps!

Thought I’d share a recipe today, while it is aimed at your festive cheeseboard, it can be used year-round. When Mr.B and I were starting off we had a cheap little breadmaker that did little square loaves, but it came with a recipe book which included apple jam…I lost the book in the decade or so since then, but this recipe is the closest I’ve found.

 

Ingredients: (makes 2-3 regular jars or 5 small jars)

  • 6 firm, tart apples like Granny Smiths, peeled and cored (the firmer and sharper they are, the more natural pectin they have…but if you’re uneasy about it you can add a sachet of pectin, although I never have)
  • 4 cups/800g Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100g Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lemon, juice and zest (this can be substituted for 2tbsp bottled lemon juice)

Those are the basics for the breadmaker jam, but as you’re doing this by hand we can add some or all of the following to suit your taste:

  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon (or you can shove a whole cinnamon stick in to infuse)
  • 1/8 tsp “a good pinch” Allspice 
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg (I don’t usually bother with this)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves (…or this, but some people like it)

 

 

Instructions:

  • Chop the apples, too thin will dissolve completely, but the bigger you chop, the bigger the chunks in jam will be…so you can customize it 🙂
  • Bung everything in a large pot (or breadmaker with jam setting)
  • Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to stop it making caramel on the sides of the pan.
  • After about 45 minutes it should be ready… test it either by thermometer 104C/220F or by cold plate test (It should set with a skin like Jelly)
  • Fill sterile jars and keep until needed (refrigerate once opened).

 

Serve with strong, salty cheese like Mature Cheddar or Stilton… or just on warm homemade bread with butter *drool* 🙂

 

 

Tips:

To see how to do the cold plate test, go to Spiced Blueberry Jam or Pear and Walnut Chutney.

To sterilise jars, either boil them for at least 5 minutes or wash and put in the oven at 120C/GM1.

 

Have a fun and tasty day my lovelies!

Anna x

 

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

Tradition

Morning Peeps!

Mega excited now as we’re into the last week of schooldays, clubs and such!!

I’ve just seen a post by Christy at When Women Inspire suggesting family activities for Christmas.

There are lots of things to do, decorations to re-use and set routines that we have for Christmas day. Tradition and repetition help small children to remember and know what to expect, for the rest of us they evoke beautiful memories. (With the added bonus of knowing in advance what we’re doing!)

Our Christmases change, sometimes we’re at home, other times we go to my mum’s house. Wherever we are there are a few things that stay the same.

We have stockings in our room (our daughter brings hers in and opens it with us), then go to the lounge for prezzies! (Via the kettle…can’t function without tea!)

When I was about 10, a teacher said to us that we should remember to thank God for Christ’s birth and the stuff we have already before we open gifts….and I have ever since. It’s lovely to see my daughter take this on-board and stop to pray too.

After prezzies, we have a treat breakfast like croissants or bacon rolls (usually involving some chocolate biscuits) and get dressed. Then we either go to parents or they arrive at ours for Christmas lunch.

There are games we always play, (more on those later) but we always try to find new ones too.

There’s always a dog to walk and food to nibble on (if I’m honest, I’d rather skip the Christmas dinner and go straight to the nibbles and party food 😉 ).

The day itself has only a few of our traditions; we always visit my hometown to give out gifts the week before (to people we won’t see on the day) and there’s always a special carol service or nativity at church. My daughter and I always of some sort of baking too!

The most important things are the reason for Christmas and the time with the family, all the rest is negotiable but nice nonetheless 🙂

What are your family traditions? I’d love to know 🙂

Have a festive day my friends!

Anna x

Last Minute Shopping!

Morning Festive Peeps!

So last night I saw a TV ad for Amazon saying Last Minute Shopping has begun!

Most of you will know I’m an Amazon affiliate, but I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love the service…we use Amazon a lot in our family. So here are my top Christmas items you can order from them:

1) The Lego BB-8… Lego is always a bit pricey but BB-8 is adorable, Lego can be used over and over and Star Wars is seriously popular at the mo because the next instalment of the film series opens this weekend!

 

2) The Kindle is an excellent choice if someone is getting into reading. I love mine because I can carry around dozens of classic novels without being weighed down. Also, if you don’t know what a word means, you can look it up in the built-in dictionary!

If you’re buying for younger ones, then the Kindle Fire offers them more than just reading; they can download games and use it like a tablet. £49 is cheaper than the regular Kindle and very good value for a tablet (because no one wants an iPad to be wrecked by a 6-year-old!).

My daughter still loves hers, as well as reading on it, she watches videos and plays Minecraft pocket edition…incidentally, pocket edition is cheaper to download than the full version (and it won’t be taking up memory on the family PC/laptop!)

 

3) The Amazon Echo Dot or “Alexa” is currently on sale, but even at full price (£49) is one of the cheapest smart speakers on sale but she still does everything her bigger counterparts do!  The best function, in my humble opinion, is the ability to sync her with smart plugs so you can tell her to turn off the lamp or Christmas lights that you find it hard to reach!

 

4) Something for your fur-babies? I laughed so hard when I saw this Dog Bandana Bailey would certainly appreciate the sentiment! LOL! 😀

 

5) Lastly, there is a ton of Christmas tableware on Amazon! This matching gold set would bling up your table for the special day… Mum always uses gold chargers and I liked the idea so much I bought silver ones (to match my decor).

 

I’ve tried to show reusable things that will be good value and long-lasting, these are not big-ticket items like Apple products and designer bags, but will be just as appreciated by the receiver!

Have a good one Peeps!

Anna x

 

 

Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Entertaining and Exciting Stuff

2 Weeks to go Peeps!!

So that’s your first bit of excitement, what’s next?

It could be the upcoming Star Wars film? If you’re looking forward to The Last Jedi this weekend, check out the Super Carlin Brothers’ theories, predictions and trailer analysis here. Oh and congrats to J Carlin and his wife on the arrival of their son Luke (wonder where that name idea came from?! 😉 )

Or is your excitement TV-related? There’s certainly a lot to celebrate on British TV this week: Excellent results in the jungle last night, well-deserved win. There’s the Strictly final to come this weekend, and then my favourite, Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas is on Channel 4 at 5pm tonight starting a daily run!! (Yes, daily…So excited I may be sick!) If you didn’t know already, Kirstie Allsopp is my kindred spirit and I love her….seriously, she may even be more Christmassy than me!

Maybe your excitement is gadget-related as there are always new things around for gift-giving time… If you’ve been watching Philip Schofield’s Spend It Well At Christmas, you will have seen enough technology to keep you going all year; I particularly liked the projector that made any flat surface into a touch-screen! I may have to wait until it’s a tad cheaper though (like 80% cheaper!)…and you know I’d never spend that on anyone or anything at Christmas, so I’ll wait.

My own personal bit of excitement comes from this blog and you lovely people! Yesterday gave me the highest views all week, the 3rd highest week ever and 2 new followers! Hello and welcome to the madness! You’re very brave…or as crazy as the rest of us! 😉 (Either/or you pick…we accept all levels of cuckoo here!)

I am going to take myself off now, to work like crazy, so I’m ready in time for Kirstie at 5!

Catch ya later festive peeps!

Anna x

Christmas Desserts

Morning Peeps!

Blowing a gale here, stay safe if you venture out! If you’re in for the day, you may want to spend a little time browsing these gorgeous recipes from the blog “Cooking Without Limits.”

I love a Christmas Pud, but sometimes it’s a bit heavy after a big dinner…so here are some lighter (and fancier) desserts you can offer your guests.

Enjoy!

Anna x

 

Today I made a list of possible sweets I want to make for Christmas. The first one is a must, because I just love the crunchy feeling in that dessert. Also, it is so easy to do and with no great skills. How about your list? Is it long, short, easy or difficult? Chocolate baklava […]

via Desserts for Christmas — Cooking Without Limits

God is Faithful

Morning Peeps!

It never ceases to amaze me when you hear about answers to prayer. God always provides what is needed at just the right moment and I’m in complete awe of that!

I have personally had several of those instances this week, the ones where you know it had to be God:

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A financial issue arose and meant extra pressure just before Christmas, but twice in the last week I’ve received extra cash; once as a gift and once was a payment that I was told could take a month to process…it took just 9 days and came when I needed it most. Also, being nearly the school holidays I had lost a day’s teaching (and the income with it) because of a Christmas trip but, out of the blue, I got a message asking if I could do a one-off lesson on that day.

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It’s not just financial either! I have a relative who’s been really ill and had treatment. Went for a check-up yesterday (expecting more treatment) and got the all-clear! Lots of prayers went into that situation and God heard.

So I just wanted to give God the glory for these things and to remind you all to keep the faith. God knows what you need.

Have a blessed Saturday!

Anna x

Paper Wreath

Hi-diddly-ho Peeps!

As promised I’m going to show you some more Christmas crafts:

I started off making paper straws for a candle-holder project I saw on YouTube. (You can view that craft as part of this video by KT Hacks but  I can’t show you mine in case the person I give them to sees this before Christmas! 😉 )

So basically, I rolled A6 sized paper ( a quarter of printer paper) diagonally and glued them shut. (Watching Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas helped…or you could spend money and buy craft straws.)

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I wanted to do 2 pairs of candle-holders, I did one and just covered the second set of charity shop glasses in glue and glitter. The point is that I had plenty of straws left over, so I had the Idea to make a wreath.

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I cut a large ring of card from a box and hot-glued the straws to it, starting with one end lined up with the inner edge of the ring.

After 2 layers, I then cut some straws in half for the upper layers (another 2 layers in fact)…

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Thinking ‘snowflake’, I then put PVA glue on the tips of each straw and added silver glitter (from Poundworld, of course).

I then added a wired bow (with ribbon also from Poundworld! Bargain!) and candy canes… I debated whether or not to add extra decorations to the top, but the teenager decided for me, so it’s quite minimalist for me 😉 I then hot-glued the ends of a piece of string to the back for hanging,

wreath

I’m really pleased with it and, spread over 3 days, it wasn’t too labour intensive. If you want to try, you can do any decor you like, in any colour, so it’s a really flexible craft!

Have a fab Friday!

Anna x