Food Gifts #1~ Mema’s Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly has long been a staple at holiday celebrations at my Mema’s house for as long as I can remember. What is so funny to me is I don’t even really care for peppers! But this luminescent green jelly poured over cream cheese and served with butter crackers is just yummy! This is a great stand-by if you have unexpected guest. There are a few things you may want to consider before making this:

1. It is EASY!!
2. Your family & possibly the neighbors may think you are whipping up Mustard Gas as the smell of boiling vinegar will knock you out!
3. It makes quit A LOT! I made mine in 4 oz mason jars and filled almost a dozen.
4. You can totally control the heat by the amount of jalapeno or hot pepper you use. If you and your people love heat, add more, if you are like me and don’t like to much use less! 

Mema’a Pepper Jelly

3/4 c green peppers, pureed in food processor 3-5 peppers
1/4 c hot pepper, pureed (jalapenos, from the garden) 
2 c cider vinegar
5 c sugar
6 oz liquid fruit pectin

Blitz peppers in food processor. Add all ingredients except pectin,bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat and let stand 5 mins, all the “gunk” will rise to top, skim off and discard. Add pectin, mix well and add to hot jars. Delish!!

Party Pecans

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Talk about a crowd pleaser! These little gems are just perfect for any party! Great for any gathering! And they are quick and easy to make!! Even better, right?

1 12oz bag halved pecans

3 T butter

1/3 c brown sugar

1/2 t each ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt

Melt butter, stir in all ingedients toss with nuts, stir well. Dump on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 350 tossing nuts around every 5 mins. DO NOT OVER COOK! Mine were done in about 12 mins.

ENJOY!! Mama Bird

Perfect Pesto

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Mama loves some PESTO and I love making it and lots of it!! I have several basil plants just so I can make Pesto all summer long to stock pile it for the winter! I have had a few friends say that sometimes they think that Pesto can be a little strong so I add fresh spinach to my recipe in order to mellow the flavor a bit. Don’t worry it doesn’t change the flavor! I also use walnuts in lew of pine nuts as Hubs gets massive headaches from pine nuts and the walnuts don’t seem to bother him as much.

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Perfect Pesto

2 cups basil leaves

1 cup fresh baby spinach

3 cloves garlic

1/3 cup walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese*

In food processor add basil, spinach and garlic, pulse until combined; add walnuts and parm while pulsing slowly add olive oil through the tube. It’s that easy!!

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* NOW if you are making a ton and want to FREEZE it DO NOT add PARMESAN. Place in freezer safe dish and lightly top with a layer of olive oil and it will freeze beautifully. Take out of freezer and add shredded parm to Pesto and ENJOY Pesto all year long!!

Valentine’s Lollipops

P2021860I was looking through Valentine’s Ideas when I saw that Trendy Treehouse  did a great post and I was super excited to find Roots & Wings Co who posted this great recipe for Nana’s Suckers. I had never made suckers before but these were so cute that I had to give it a try. I had a little trouble finding sucker  molds. I didn’t have time to order the snazzy stainless steel ones they had so mine are a lot thinner. I think they turned out quit well. Especially since I had never even used a candy thermometer!! Thanks to the Sisters over at Roots & Wings Co I am in love and think I will be making suckers for every holiday!!
I halved the recipe. I only had 1 mold (5 lollipops) and this recipe made about 15 pops.
1 c sugar
1/4 c light karo syrup
1/4 c water
Bring to 260 degrees on a candy thermometer and then add coloring (I like the paste) and when it hits 290 take off heat and add flavoring. I used cherry.
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This is what it looks like just as you need to remove it from the heat!! P2021864This is how I am going to give them to Jack’s Class. 

Food Gifts #3~ Spicy Maple Walnuts

This is a yummy little munchie! Easy and you can make it ahead!!

1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each: cayenne pepper, black pepper, ginger & cinnamon
3 Tb maple syrup
2 c walnuts
Mix sugar & spices in a small bowl. Put syrup in a large bowl. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over med/high heat apx 5 mins. Immediately add to syrup, toss to coat well. Add spices and toss again. Spread in a single layer on lined cookie sheet allow to cool.

AWESOME HOLIDAY APPETIZERS

Yip~eeeeeeee! Over at Blessed with Grace they are asking what do you NIBBLE on during the Holidays! These are some of the apps that I keep on hand through the Holidays. You can make all but the dates way ahead and keep in the fridge for a week to 10 days. I just had to add some of my picks of favorite munchies. Here are a few:

Curry Dip
1 cup mayo
1 tsp Curry powder
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
Mix all ingredients well and chill overnight. Serve with fresh veggies.

Bacon Wrapped Dates
2 dozen dried dates, pitted
1/3 c ricotta cheese
12 slices of bacon, cut in half
Preheat oven to 450. Use a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Stuff each date with a teaspoon of ricotta cheese and wrap with 1/2 bacon slice. Place on cookie sheet and bake 20 mins.

Tina’s Cheese Ball
(this makes 1 large or 2 small cheese balls)
2~ 8 oz cream cheese
1 Tb Accent seasoning salt
1/4 c chopped green pepper
2 Tb minced sweet onion
1 sm can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts
Mix all ingredients except nuts, roll in a ball, chill in fridge and roll in nuts.

Hot Pepper Jelly with Cream Cheese & Crackers