Friday, November 6, 2009

ladies with marmalade and a cause

I know it is only November, but Christmas is right around the corner and it is never too soon to start collecting prezzies.
My cousin, whom also happens to be my friend, and I came across a charity called  samaritan's purse.  The group that runs this program is a religious organization which neither of us are affiliated with--but like its holiday project, operation christmas child.  Each November, they collect and distribute shoe boxes, filled with Christmas goodies, to underprivileged children around the world. Julie and I thought it would be fun and rewarding to throw a "box collection" party. So we are.

We LOVE putting together parties and supporting a good cause, makes it that much more enjoyable.

We both are a bit crafty, have similar taste, and  have a secret sewing weapon in Julie's mom.  Here are some pics from a baby shower we threw (for another cousin who also happens to be Julie's sister-in-law).
Champagne and coaster "baby blocks"
I made these favors to resemble baby bibs and filled with jelly beans.  We made the cookies too!
I especially love the "Ethan" banner that Julie created and draped across the mommy-to-be's chair.

It really was a bunch of fun.

But I digress...

Julie and I have been planning for this party for a couple of months and what is most  important to us is that everyone brings a christmas box, has a great time, and leaves with a treat.
One of the yummies we are giving is a jar of homemade carrot-orange marmalade.  Before you say...oh is really good.
This is a recipe I learned in India. Each morning, I would enjoy this marmalade with warm croissants (yes plural) and a nice smear of sweet butter.  I fell in love with the flavor and didn't have to beg too much to get the recipe.
These two lovely and helpful young ladies are Julie's daughter and my niece.  They are smart and nice and never do anything wrong (wink, wink).

So last Sunday afternoon we buckled down and canned a bunch of jars of marmalade.

The party is this weekend, so stay tuned for pics and more recipes from the event...

Carrot-Orange Marmalade
6 medium carrots--grated
12 oranges peels on--thinly sliced
3 lemons peels on--thinly sliced
6-7 cups sugar (depending on the sweetness of the oranges)
1 cup orange juice
2" knob of ginger--peeled and kept whole
1 Tbs fresh ginger-very finely chopped
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Let sit overnight or at least 6 hours in the refrigerator to meld flavors.  When you slice the fruit, make sure you catch all the juice in the bowl.  When you are ready to cook the marmalade, dump everything in a large heavy pot on med-low heat.  Cook for several hours covered--checking periodically to make sure the bottom isn't burning. After several hours, remove the top and lower the heat and cook until the sugar syrup begins to thicken and get nice and sticky. Do not let it burn. The cooking process should take 4-5 hours.  But you can walk don't have to stand over the stove.
Once the marmalade is ready, you can put it in jars and store in the fridge. If you want to store for longer you must go through the canning process.  Please use proper and sanitary procedures to do so.
This recipe makes approximately 15-5oz jars.


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