Anna’s Orange Marmalade

I successfully made my own jam for the first time today. Naval  oranges were on sale and I’ve been wanting to make and can my own jam for awhile now. There were some learning experiences to go a long with making this recipe. Some, I’m not very proud of.

1. It takes almost an hour to get the jam to it’s proper temperature. The recipe called for 30 minutes but mine took twice as long.

2. Even though I started processing the jars a little bit to early, the temperature was around 210 degrees when I started to sterilize the jars.  Maybe next time, start sterilizing the jars at 215 degrees??? I think I ended up boiling those jars for almost 45 minutes. They’re pretty darn safe to eat it from by then. Better safe than sorry.

3. Once you fill the jam into jars, there’s still a little bit of the jam mixture at the bottom of the pan. I couldn’t get it all scooped out on time and a little amount of jam left at the bottom of the pan ended up burning. Ooops.  I put some water in the pan quickly so that it would come out. It’s working, cause the water is helping to loosen up the burnt sugar at the bottom.

4. Always, put a pan that hot on a hot plate. I was so frantically running around the kitchen trying to find something to put it on but I couldn’t find anything. If you don’t, something bad will happen to your counter top. Usually, I have dishes in that spot, so it’s not very noticeable, but still sucks.

5. This recipe calls for 8 cups of sugar. Yes, 8. Even by just reading that, you know it’s going to be a good recipe.

Ingredients from Ina Garten

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar


Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

Tequila Lime Chicken


1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin-on


Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


I’ve never had a bottle of Tequila up until now. I’m not really much of alcoholic, but you should see our pantry down stairs. Full of different types of liquor!

On my facebook page, I put for my status one day that I really wanted a margarita. One person was rather in shock, that I put that there, because they thought I didn’t like to drink. WRONG. Which I don’t really, not a big fan of going to bars either. I like to drink when I go out to eat though. :)

Alcohol in food is a different story. Wine only tastes good to me when it’s made in Beef Bourguignon or some kind of stew or pasta sauce. Tequila isn’t a drink I like to take random shots of, but would rather use it in a marinade like this chicken recipe. We made this chicken when it was only 6 degrees outside. I’m desperately wanting it to be Spring again, but we still have oodles and oodles of snow mountains to get rid of.

Ina Garten’s Hummus


  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
  • 8 dashes hot sauce


Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.


I’m addicted to hummus now. I’ve been finding lots of different hummus recipes to try too. There’s a black bean hummus recipe in the last issue of Cooking Light’s magazine and I want to try making hummus made with edamame. I bought a big frozen bag of it last week at Sam’s Club. Hummus is good with pita chips and any kind of veggie. I like carrots. It’s a good way of getting more veggies in and I’ve been meaning to eat more veggies lately.

I’m not a big fan of veggies. I think during the week I’ll have at least one serving and that is it. I take my gummy multivitamin at night. I hope that you’re as excited for getting more veggies into your diet like I am because there’s going to be a lot of posts about veggies coming your way. :)

Ina Garten’s Croque Monsieur


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.


The French sure knew what they were doing when they made this sandwich. I didn’t add an egg on top of it though,  then it would have been a Croque Madame. Ham was even on sale this week at the grocery store, honey ham that is. Not Virginia Baked ham. Still good stuff. :)

We went to Sam’s Club this weekend and stocked up on a bunch of bulk items. I bought some gruyere cheese since it’s cheap. Even though I’ve made this sandwich and mac and cheese with my gruyere cheese, I did buy some healthier foods like Salsa, frozen  Jumbo shrimp, and Edamame. I love Sam’s Club, and I think my brother does a little bit too much. He walked out of there singing “We bought in bulk, we bought in bulk, yeah!”