Monday, August 27, 2012


So, Its been a while hasn’t it?  I can truthfully say, it has been a long hard 8 weeks!  The department where I worked, closed down, and I chose to realign with another.  Doesn’t sound so bad on paper.  In real life, it has been a rude awakening, an awakening that has left me mentally and physically exhausted on a daily basis.  I have attempted to write a couple of times, but have not cooked anything worthwhile, or newsworthy.  Normally, I would have come up with something to cook and write about, but I would just sit at my blogger screen and stare.  Two things happened, the end of training/transition period….and the best mental health day EVER!!!  Any of you out there down in the dumps?  Feeling blah?  Stressed out?  HAH!  I have the cure my friends…..Paintball!
I was invited to a pickup game this weekend, and at first I looked for reasons not to go.  My back hurts, I just want to sit and read my kindle, blah blah blah!  Give me enough time and I would have.  So I made myself buy boots and pants to go play, packed my gear bag and away I was.  When I showed up to the field, yeah my back hurt, yeah I was emotionally drained, yeah I was physically exhausted.  But I will tell you this.  Once the ref yelled “ Blue Team Ready, Red Team Ready, GAME ON “ that all went away.  No back pain, no discomfort, no nothing.  Just a pure feeling that I can not even explain!  Yes I did things that if I were to attempt again I would probably break every bone in my body, but man oh man what a rush!  Its been a good 13 years since I have played.  I got out of the sport because of some of the politics at my local paint ball parks.  Sold my markers, and said peace out.  I don’t think I will make that mistake again.  Thank you soo much Big Daddy!  You my friend, are a godsend!!
Now.  As I am nursing muscles that I did not even know I had, counting the nickel sized bruises on my body, I figured I would sit down and try to write.  Hey…my back doesn’t hurt anymore, I don’t feel emotionally drained….and my back doesn’t hurt any more.  Imagine that….yesterday was spend acting like I had a 20 year old body that was in shape…I actually have energy, I am not emotionally drained, and I am not in pain ( well other than my obvious war wounds ).  Hmm..something to be said for shooting people with a projectile at 170 feet per second. 

Late night Packing

Two fisting it with Midget Pygmy #2's chest plate

Yeah...I did that to Big Daddy.  Sorry man...shouldn't trip over bushes when you are charging me!
Not too flattering picture of me...but who's gonna see this right??

One other good thing came out of playing paintball.  3 flats of wild blackberry's!!  Last week I was given 1, so I bought 3, and out of that 3 I actually will get 1 and a half.  So that leaves me with 2 and half flats of wild blackberry's!  Now…what do you think the ole Jelly Man is going to do?  Well, I guess you will have to keep reading!

Aint they beautiful!!!

Since I do not want to mess this up, I think I will start off with one of my classics.  Wine Jelly!  As my Aunt has told me from her grandson’s mouth…..” If its not Kelly's Jelly, its not Jelly “.   I couldn’t ask for a bigger fan!  I have been given a couple of bottles of some good wine from a friend that I shoot with, who works at Renwood Winery.  It’s a red wine, not exactly my normal, so we shall make it, and give it to my new official taste tester. The wine I will be using today is going to be 2008 Zinfandel, Old Vine from Renwood Winery!

MMMM Smells good!!

Its my old standby, and nothing went wrong.  It all sealed nicely, and smells great!

Now.  The big chore.  SO right now, I have 1 ½ flats of blackberry's, and a gallon size Ziploc bag of Berry's in the freezer.  I decided to put the frozen berry’s and the full flat through the squeezo.  Whats a squeezo you ask?  Its only the neatest thing since mason jars!!!!  Imagine a meat grinder, with a big hopper, and a screened cone on the end.  You grind and mash the berries up, and it spits out seeds and skins.  AWESOME!!!!

There in all it's glory!
MMM all that gooey berry goodness!
Skins and seeds for the composter!

The rest of the berries, I just mashed with a potato masher, and mixed it all together in my big yellow bowl!  I ended up with 18 cups of juice/puree.  I decided to make one batch today, and the rest goes into the freezer.  All I have to do is thaw it out, add 7 cups of sugar, some pectin, and blam!
Today was very constructive, tried one completely new Jam, and a change to an old standby.  I did a better job of cleaning as I went than I normally do, so cleanup won't be that big tonight.  Hopefully. 
It never ceases to amaze me, on how much better I feel after a day of constructive work.  I have 13 jars of Jam and Jelly, the stuff to make a couple more batches in the freezer, and the feeling of being dead on my feet.  But it was well worth it!
I have spent the last 8 weeks kind of in a blur.  Focusing on a way of life in my job that is no longer there.  I wouldn’t say that I gave up, more like gave in.  I was willing to let everything that was going on cloud, and disrupt what I liked to do.  For a while, I found it easier to live in the clouds of funk, rather than the clouds of steam my pots and canner!  All it took was the people I surround myself with to give me a gentle kick in the pants, dragging me out to play paintball by my ears….and the perfect shot from 25 yards away, through pine branches and huge manzanita bushes, wham!  Straight in the junk from Mrs. Lorna!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Pippity Poppity Cake Pops!

Well, Its been a while, so long time no see! 

Since my last post, I have been laying low, not really cooking, not really doing a whole lot.  The choices in front of me regarding employment have sapped the strength right out of me.  My wife and I decided that relocating to another state was not in the books.  So, I have been trying to keep my chin up, as on July 2nd, I will begin training for a new job within Verizon Wireless.  I am extremely grateful to have been given a choice to transfer to a new job, keep my pay, and not have to relocate to another state.  In this current job market, there are thousands of people who were not given any choices, but simply handed their last pay check, and a pat on the back.

Enough about that!  I needed a pick me up.  I needed to get in and make something.  I still do not have access to 100% of my brain yet ( Most of it went on a vacation to Egypt, and is currently on a cruise of De nile....get it....ummm yeah moving forward ), so I decided....

wait for it.....

keep waiting......

CAKE POPS!!!!!!  I mean what is better than a cake pop?  Come on!!!  Its CAKE ON A STICK!!  Everything is better when its on a stick, and its Cake.  Stay with me people!!

I Googled Cake Pops recipes, and got a bunch of hits.  I went with the below blog for the recipe and inspiration.

Little Miss Momma

So, on to Cake Pop's. What could be simpler?  You bake a cake, smoosh it up, add half a tub of frosting, smoosh it up some more, make little balls of frosting and cake goodness, stab it with a stick, and dip them in chocolate.. pretty simple right?  Well....almost that simple.

I will recommend that you pick up all of your ingredients at Walmart.  You will find most, if not all of your ingredients there, and you can't beat the price!
4 Pack's of Cake Sticks 2.50 Each ( Over bought )
1 Funfetti Cake Mix .96
1 Vanilla Frosting 1.50
2 Candy Melts 2.50 Each ( Under Bought )
Styrofoam 7.97 ( I bought Styrofoam in the craft isle, you can get florist foam cheaper.  The benefit of the Styrofoam is it is a bit more durable, and I cut it to fit out cake/cupcake carrier.  When I am done making my delivery's tomorrow, I will spray it with a food safe poly urethane for repeated use )
Grand Total of 25.43

Mix up the cake as normal, ( If you are going with cake pop molds, add an extra egg, but since I was going with the smoosh method, just do it as the back of the box says )

I have found a new Friend for my kitchen.  Pam Baking spray.  This will be the 3rd cake I have made, and no sticking AT ALL!!!!! So, spray your pan!!

Pour into your greased pan, and Bake! 

Look, doesn't that cake look good in my big yellow bowl?  Its kind of orangy in this picture...but it looks great right? ( I cut it into quarters and it literally slid out of the pan.  The blog I got these ideas from lined the pan with foil and it pulled right out )

Smoosh it, add frosting, and smoosh it again with the frosting!

There is nothing that is said that you have to smoosh it into a ball, but I figured that a big ball of smooshed cake is almost as good as smooshed cake on a stick!

It calls to put the cake into the freezer.....obviously people who make these, don't store much in their freezers!  So I put it in the fridge!  These balls were made with a cookie scoop, dropped onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, then rounded off into balls.

I don't have pictures of the next couple of steps.  So...

Take one of the sticks and poke holes in your florist foam.  Your cake pops are going to set standing upright

Melt your Candy Melts in a double boiler, taking care not to scorch them.  Per the recipe add a spoonful of Crisco to the chocolate to thin it out.

Once you have thinned out the chocolate, dip the end of the sticks into the chocolate, and stick them into your balls of chilled smooshed cake

The recipe called for spooning it onto the cake balls and turning the stick.  We tried it.  We prefer to go all out and dip them directly into the chocolate, and gently turn and tap them to get rid of the excess chocolate.

I bought 1 bag of Vanilla Candy Melts, and one bag of Chocolate.  I ran out of Vanilla, so we then melted some chocolate!

*Tip*  Measure your refrigerator shelves BEFORE you try to put the Cake Pop's in.  Thankfully my kitchen sidekick Auntie C. has more sense than me. 

Let them set, and then you can either decorate them as the blog above states, or.....


Normally Pygmy 1 and 2 are more photogenic...but who can blame them???  They have chocolate covered smooshed cake with frosting on a STICK!

Meanwhile...after the sugar kicked in.......

Nothing like hopping your kids up on sugar, and exiling them to the back yard.  Nothing better...unless they aren't your kids, and you are sending them home to their parents!!  =)~

Another weekend come and gone, a 3 Day weekend at that.  Time to clean the kitchen, get my coffee ready for tomorrow, and go into work.  It will be a sad state of affairs the next few weeks.  Good Friends you never thought would leave, and people who you were secretly glad were relocating....yeah I actually miss those people too.

I promise not to be a stranger, I have big idea's lurking in my recovering brain matter.  Home Made Vanilla Extract, some summer canning, and something with bacon.  Hmmmm.....Chocolate Smooshed cake with Chocolate frosting mixed with smooshed bacon covered with more chocolate and salted peanuts??  Maybeeeee................

Saturday, March 10, 2012


TEOTWAWKI .  The End Of The World As We Know It.  Kinda ominous isn't it?  I have read about this for years.  That term is usually aimed at so called Dooms Sayers, Prophets, and so called Religious Nut Bags.  I look at that term as we should always be prepared.  You may ask your self be prepared for what?  I say be prepared for anything that you think may happen.  I do not feel it is considered crazy to have a large pantry that can sustain you for month's or even up to a year.  I think of that as strong planning.  I have looked into creating a pantry that could sustain my family in tough times.  Looked and doing are two completely different things, and it appears that I have been caught with my pants down. 

Last week my employer dropped a bombshell that it will be consolidating resources, and reallocating real estate.  In other words, down sizing operations.  Please see below link.

 Verizon Wireless

My current position is being relocated to Salt Lake City Utah.  BUT, I have options.  In my center alone, it will affect nearly 325 people.  Other centers will be closed completely.  I have the ability to Relocate, move to the department that will be taking over in my building doing a completely different job, apply for jobs elsewhere within the company, or take a severance.  There is alot of doom and gloom going around, ( which is to be expected ), but honestly the fact that we have choices makes it a bit easier. 

Company's make these business decisions every day.  I can see that.  I am neither hurt, nor angry.  It is a simple fact of business.  I am not the first person to have this happen to them, and nor will I be the last.  What alot of people fail to realize, is as consumers, we do this all of the time.  We choose to go with lower cost's or better value.  I have jumped around in Car Insurance, Cable TV, Home Phone providers, shopping at Big Box stores instead of going with higher cost Mom and Pop stores, its the same thing. 

So you are probably now wondering where TEOTWAWKI  comes into play.  I have a bad habit of putting things off.  Preparing my family for what could be a long road ahead, eh well I can take care of that next month, well how about next month, and so on and so forth.  Well, I guess it is time to pay the piper, suck it up, and admit that I zigged, when I should have zagged.  I now truly understand the saying " Hindsight is always 20-20 ".

TEOTWAWKI  has very many meanings.  Zombie Apocalypse, Mayan Calendar, Y2K ( HAH ), financial collapse, the list goes on and on.  In my view, TEOTWAWKI  is just that.  The End Of The World As We Know It.  Depending on the choice that my family makes, it is just that.  Being home to cook dinner every night, having a very good schedule of holidays and weekends off.  It is not as drastic as the end of the world, but it means change. 

Many of my Friends will decide to take the severance package and retire early, or chase other options out side of our current employer, some will move to other centers across the US.  The JellyMan has not made a decision.  Moving to SLC would be a step in the direction I have wanted, but we will have to see if now is the time.  I am keeping my thoughts clear, my emotions in check, and dusting off the old resume.  You never know what hand life will deal you.  I have been sitting at the tables for the last couple of years, and have won hand after hand, and I forgot that in life, the house always wins. 

You never know.  This may be the kick in the pants the the JellyMan needed to chase other dreams.  During this time of decisions that all of my friends and work family are making, I will be making my own.  And while I am doing this, I will be doing alot of baking therapy both to keep my spirits up, and to keep the sugar levels up in all of us! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tastey Cakes!

Hello again!  Finally have time to sit down, and blog.  Christmas was a whirlwind of activity of cooking and canning!  Once that was done, then came Midget Pygmy #1's 7th birthday.  I can now sit down and breath!

I guess Christmas Jam's and Jelly's were a hit...I haven't been sued yet so that's always a good sign!  This year for Christmas we tried to give all gifts that were purchased or made locally.  Most of them were made in the JellyManKelly household as you can imagine from some of my previous was alot!  This year we also added home made Vanilla ( that will be a future blog ) the beginnings of a home made Nativity Set, ( that mistake won't be repeated as I was asked wow, this looks great for something your children made......awkward silence.......umm no I made them.....continued awkward silence......okay moving on! )  And flavored popcorn from The Art Of Popcorn ( ask me how they can be at your next event and I will tell you!!!! )

After all of the time spent in my Kitchen, and then in my man cave making Nativity Sets, I was burnt out!  We have been doing very basic cooking, errr I have been doing very basic cooking, and today...I just couldn't take it anymore! 

Why watch the Superbowl when you can have a SUPER CAKE!!!

Looks good don't it?

This was the first edible cake I have made from scratch.  I made one before.....a long time ago.... when I got my Kitchen Aid 6Qt professional mixer from Mrs JellyMan ( way way before she was Mrs JellyMan ). 

I bought a bunt cake pan a couple of years ago at the insistence of Mrs. JellyMan...." If you buy it for me I will make you a cake "  Well that was like 3 years ago...and I found the un opened pan when I had to make room for a new dryer a couple months ago.  Good Times!

I need lots of help in the kitchen.....or at least I do according to Midget Pygmy #2

This is how you do it Daddy

Or is this how you do it?

Well after the help, we got the cake into the oven

This was a Chocolate Sour Cream, Bundt Cake with Chocolate ganache.  The recipe was on the back of the Cake Pan box.  I really do not care to flaunt my skills, but I did a dang good job on this cake!!!

I think my cake looks better!!

Muy festive with the Fiesta ware plates!


Midget Pygmy #2 was more interested in gummy bear wars than eating.  He thought he would be slick and ask for gummy bears, then when he was done he would get his own cake...he fails to remember he is my clone, and I can think faster than him.  So he settled for stolen bites from me and Mrs JellyMan.

Overall, it was a good distraction from watching the Superbowl.  49ers weren't playing so it wasn't worth my time.  And frankly both of the Manning brothers look like they are missing brain cells or something.

Dishes are done thanks to Auntie C, and all I have left to do is wrap up this blog....wait slowly to you guys later!