January 24, 2015

a winter pick-me-up

Where I live, winter has settled in and made itself comfortable, and the sun - like the rest of us would like to - has decided to flee these desolate parts.  In the arctic dim that has to suffice for daytime, now, I feel restless and gloomy and wish I could check out for awhile.  Facebook and Jimmy Fallon can only distract for so long, and do nothing to permanently improve my mood.  The volumes of nonfiction from the library don't hold my attention, and even chocolate begins to seem boring (*gasp*).

Enter Cranberry Chia Seed Jam, a sprightly sweet-tart treat with a spark of citrus that will wake up your taste buds, and maybe the rest of you, too:





Remember those cranberries you bought when they were on sale around Christmas (or even Thanksgiving), and then froze because you didn't get around to making your own cranberry sauce?  

Their time has come at last.  

Grab a bag out of the freezer and dump them into a saucepan with about a cup of maple syrup (more if you like gloopier jam, less if you like a sturdier spread).  




Simmer on medium heat while you zest an orange (if you don't have a zester, use a vegetable peeler to pare away just the orange layer, and then chop it finely).  By the time you're done with that, the cranberries have probably softened and burst.  If not, you can speed up the process with a potato masher. 





When all the berries have submitted nicely to the heat, stir in one quarter cup of chia seeds and the orange zest.  (I have no idea why my orange zest looks yellow here - I promise I did not use lemon, although that might be good, too.  Hmmm .....)  




Spoon into a jar and chill.  The chia seeds will thicken the cranberry and  - viola!  

Jam!!




(yummy on ricotta cheese!)

Here's to more of the sunshine that finally blazed out for an hour or two today, after I cooked up this jam.  

(Coincidence?  Maybe.)


Cranberry Chia Seed Jam

12 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (3 1/2 - 4 cups)
3/4 - 1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chia seeds
zest from one orange

Over medium heat, cook cranberries and maple syrup till all berries have burst, stirring occasionally (12-15 minutes).  Mash with potato masher if needed.  Stir in chia seeds and orange zest; mix well.  Remove from heat; cool a minute or two; spoon into glass jar and chill.  Jam thickens while cooling.  Keeps 8-10 days in refrigerator (if you don't eat it before then!).



.... that 90-day challenge

For any observant readers out there that have been wondering how my 90-day Bible-reading challenge has been going (and why they aren't seeing updates), here's how it's going:

s

     l

         o
 
               w

                         l

                                   y

                                                 . . . .


[which is a nice way of saying that I'm weeks behind schedule.]

I started out strong.  I really believed I would keep up.  "It's only a half an hour a day," I remember telling someone, that first week.

It was fun at first.  I gulped down Genesis, Exodus, even Leviticus.  Reveled in "seeing the big picture."  Then in Numbers I started hitting serious genealogies.

I don't do so well with genealogies.  I want to skip over them, but can't - it feels too much like cheating.  I have to sound out every name.  I resort to reading them aloud in order to stay on task.  I move a piece of paper down the page, to mark the line I'm on, to help me move along.

Nevertheless, I find my eyes glazing over, make myself go back and read again the lines I've inadvertently skimmed [or skipped].

So.

I'm still plugging along - and will continue to do so, until I finish.  I'm not excited anymore (although that could come back, once the genealogies are behind me for good - but that's books and books away ...!).  I try to fake it, at least when I'm talking to Sugar, who - of course - is still on schedule (as she has been ever since conception).

That's the update.  Anyone who's doing it, too, and fell behind - we can do this.

Remember the tortoise and the hare - ?


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