My Two Bits

Red Cream Soda Jelly

on a biscuit

Yupppp! You read the title correctly.

Red. Cream. Soda. Jelly

What you need (ignore my background mess!):


  • 3 Cups Sugar

  • 1/2 Cup Water

  • 1 – 12oz can of Red Cream Soda (or Cream Soda that isn’t Red, you’re jelly will be sort of golden in color) I used Barq’s Red Cream Soda (obviously)

  • 2 – 3oz pouches of Sure*Jell CERTO® Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin (2 pouches come in the box pictured above)

  • 1-2 pats (about 1T each) Unsalted Butter (Yup, I forgot to put the butter in the picture)

Other Stuff you need:

  • Clean Sterilized Jars (my batch made two 12oz jars, one 4oz jar, and one 4oz jar that is about 3/4 full, so about 34oz worth of jars)

  • Lids & Rings

  • Canning Funnel(s)

  • Jar Lifter

  • Magnetic Lid Lifter

  • Ladle

  • Labels


This makes approximately four 8oz jars (In this batch I was able to make two 4oz jars – 1 of which is 3/4 full – and two 12oz jars).

Prepare your jars by washing, rinsing, and then sterilizing them.  I put my washed & rinsed jars on the jar rack and immerse in water I already have boiling in my ‘canning pot’, then let them boil for about 10-15 minutes. OR you can run them through your dishwasher with the heated dry cycle on.  Leave the jars in the dishwasher or pot of hot water until just before you need them.  Then – if you boiled them – use your jar lifters to remove them from the pot, dumping all that good, hot water back into your canning pot, and set the jars upright on a towel/dishcloth near your stove. If you have them in the dishwasher remove them and set them upright on a towel/dishcloth near your stove.

I have 3 canning funnels so I usually go ahead and set them on top of 3 of the prepared jars so I don’t have to do it later.

Prepare your rings and lids in another small/medium pot of boiling water.  Turn the heat off and keep the rings and lids submerged in the hot water until needed.

Cut the tops off your pectin pouches and stand up in a bowl or measuring cup so they’ll be ready when you need them (this makes it a whole lot easier!)

 Next I set the timer on my iPhone (or the built-in timer on my stove-oven) for one minute, so it is ready for me to hit ‘start’ later.

In a large pot (I use my 5qt chicken & dumpling pot so I don’t accidentally boil over) combine the sugar, water, and Red Cream Soda; heat over medium until all the sugar is dissolved.

At this point I like to add a pat (1T) or two of unsalted butter to reduce foaming. (Yes, I forgot to include the butter in the picture of the ingredients), stir until butter is melted.

stir butter

Then raise the heat to medium-high to high and stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil (a rolling boil is a boil that you can’t ‘stir down’/it keeps bubbling while you stir it)

Immediately squeeze both pouches of pectin into the mixture in your pot, stirring constantly to combine and return to a rolling boil.

Now hit the start button on your pre-set timer!

Boil for one (1) minute, stirring constantly.

rolling boil

When the timer goes off immediately remove from heat and ladle into prepared jars.

ladle in

Once the jars are filled you’ll see that a skimmy/foamy film is on the surface. Yuck!


Use a spoon and skim all that yucky stuff off! Discard the yucky stuff into the trash!


Now, with a damp paper towel or dishcloth wipe the rims of the jars; as well as the outside part of the jar where the rings screw on. (Ignore my fat fingers that desperately need a mani!)

wipe rims

Using a magnetic ‘lid lifter’ – that’s the scientific term for it 😉 – get the flat lids out – one at a time – and place on top of your nice clean jar rims.



Next screw the rings down rrrrreeeeaaaaallllly tight – or as tight as you can get them.  Use a towel (or your shirt tail like I did) to hold the jar to tighten the ring… the jars are HOT!


Now check the water in your canning pot.  Get it to a boil and use your jar lifters to GENTLY lower each jar into the pot and onto the jar rack inside, ONE by ONE.

put in pot

Be sure there is at LEAST 2″ of water over the tops of your jars! Add water if needed (like I had to)

in pot 2 inches

Return to boil and put the lid on your pot


Set your timer for TEN MINUTES for locations below 1k feet elevation; increase by +5 minutes for 1k-3k feet elevation, +10 minutes for 3k-6k feet elevation, +15 minutes for 6k-8k elevation, and +20 minutes for 8k-10k elevation. (yeah, so what? It took me 7 seconds to grab my phone and take a picture and yes, I *know* I dribbled jelly on the front of my stove…. I’ll clean it later)


Hurry up and fix a cup of coffee, put your feet up for the remaining time, and enjoy it

coffee(Gratuitous shot of LSU coffee mug – it’s gameday afterall)

DING DING DING DING! Choke a bit on your coffee and jump up and turn that dang timer off!  Turn the eye on your stove off too while you’re at it.

Remove the lid from the pot (use a pot holder of some sort so you don’t burn yourself on the hot metal handle); then carefully one by one, and using your jar lifters, remove each jar……….

take out

…… and set on a dishcloth/towel to cool completely

set out to cool

Now you get to sit back and listen to the sweet ping ping pinging of the jar lids that confirms that they sealed properly.  You’ll also be able to see a slight indentation in the middle of the lid(s) which will also verify they are good and sealed.

It *MAY* take several hours for the jelly to completely and properly set up.  It should look like this when it has completely finished setting up:



If, for some reason, after several hours (sometimes up to 24 hours!) your jelly has not set up properly (looks runny/liquidy) you can do THIS.

Now go to your computer and make some pretty labels for your jars of Red Cream Soda Jelly and stick them on the jars!  Be sure to add a date to the labels; homemade jams & jellies have a two (2) year shelf life.

ACKKKK! Help! My Jam/Jelly Didn’t Set Up!

If for some reason your batch of  jam/jelly doesn’t set up properly (Be sure to wait a full 24 hours!) You can do the following:

(Yes it’s a PITA, but who wants to waste a batch of jelly?)

*Do not remake more than 8 cups of jam/jelly at one time!

Prepare jars, lids and rings as you normally do.  Set aside.

You will also need:

First you need to do a trial batch. So, take the rings and pry the lids off the jars of jam/jelly that didn’t set up.

  • Next use a liquid measuring cup and pour (yes from those same jars) the liquidy jam/jelly into the measuring cup until you have 1 cup of unset jam/jelly (the rest of the unset jam/jelly should be set aside and refrigerated until later).

  • Now pour the 1 cup of unset jam/jelly into a medium (so it doesn’t boil over) pot and bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when you stir it) over HIGH heat stirring *constantly*.

  • Add the sugar, lemon jice and liquid pectin to the pot and stir to blend well.

  • Return to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring *constantly*

  • Remove from heat.

  • Ladle/pour into prepared jar(s).

  • Skim off the yucky foam.

  • Wipe jar(s) rim(s) and on the outside of jar(s) where the rings screw on.

  • Place flat lid on jar, then screw the ring on tightly.

  • Process in boiling water bath in canning pot for 10 minutes for locations below 1k feet elevation; *increase by +5 minutes for 1k-3k feet elevation, +10 minutes for 3k-6k feet elevation, +15 minutes for 6k-8k elevation, and +20 minutes for 8k-10k elevation.

  • Remove jar(s) from canning pot and set on dishcloth and let stand for 24 hours to check set.

Refrigerate opened pouch of  CERTO® Liquid Fruit Pectin as well as the unused unset jelly/jam.

After the 24 hours is up and you’ve checked the set on the trial batch (hopefully it set up properly – you can tell by tilting the jar to see if the jelly/jam is, well, ‘jelly-like’/’jam-like’).  If so, you now get to process the remainder of the batch! (Oh Goody!)

  • Follow the recipe above, using the listed measures of sugar, lemon juice and CERTO® Liquid Fruit Pectin for EACH 1 Cup of unset jam/jelly.

  • Prepare jars, lids, and rings.

  • Go ahead and preset a timer (on your smart phone or on your stove) just don’t hit the ‘start button’ yet.

  • Measure unset jam/jelly into a large pot.

  • Bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when you stir it), hit the ‘start button’ on your timer and boil 1 minute, stirring *constantly*.

  • Remove from heat

  • Ladle into prepared jars.

  • Wipe jar rims and on the outside of jars where the rings screw on.

  • Process in boiling water bath in canning pot for 10 minutes for locations below 1k feet elevation; *increase by +5 minutes for 1k-3k feet elevation, +10 minutes for 3k-6k feet elevation, +15 minutes for 6k-8k elevation, and +20 minutes for 8k-10k elevation.

  • Remove jar(s) from canning pot and set on dishcloth and let stand until cool & set.

  • Label Jars

Discard ANY leftover CERTO® Liquid Fruit Pectin!

(Pictures to be added later)

Fig Pie

So, last year was a very good year for my fig trees (1 turkey & 1 either a celeste or alma).  I canned figs.  I canned fig preserves and strawberry-fig preserves.  I made fig jam.  I made fig jelly. I canned fig syrup. I made and canned ‘fig meat’ to use to make homemade ‘fig newtons’ (which I still haven’t done btw). I also gave ice chests full of figs away and what I couldn’t give away I froze in gallon zip-lock bags.  Now here I am, nearly a full year later and I still have a freezer full of figs and the fig trees are already full/loaded with baby figs!  What’s a Manure Queen to do?

I’ll tell you what a Manure Queen does…. she googles fig recipes.

I found one here at Nancie McDermott’s blog that looked simple enough, so decided I had to try it!

Here are a couple of pictures getting it ready for the oven:

figgy goodiness

Figgy Goodiness ready to combine with sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt


ready to bake

Ready to bake with plenty of steam vents


This sucker is in the oven for a little while longer, I’ll edit and add pictures of the final product after the timer goes ‘ding’! 




Hot from the oven!


Hot & Bubbly!



Cooled just enough to get a slice!



Come to Mama!

Repurposing A Thrift Store Coffee Table into a Bench

Several years ago I purchased a coffee table and two end tables at a thrift store for $75.00 for all three tables. Since then, we’ve moved to our home on the lake and the tables just didn’t ‘work’ here. I’ve had the coffee table at the foot of my bed as a pseudo bench, but the black wrought iron frame and reddish wood top just looked fonky. I had been looking around on the web for a *real* bench to put at the foot of the bed, one that would go with my tufted leather headboard. But, after seeing the prices… then the shipping charges… there was no way I would be going that route.

That’s when it dawned on me that I could use the coffee table! Repaint the frame to coordinate with the metal wall art above the headboard, and pad, cover, and tuft the top of the table to coordinate with my headboard; and all for less than $100.

  • 2 cans Rustoleum/Krylon Hammered Brown Spray paint ($4.50/each)
  • 1 can Rustoleum/Krylon Hammered Metallic Copper Spray paint ($4.50)
  • 2 yards (I ordered 2x what I actually needed just in case) chocolate faux leather ($44.00 – including shipping)
  • 1 foam twin mattress topper – 1-1/2″ thick ($19.99)
  • Twin flat sheet ($0 – had an extra already)
  • 10 1-1/2″ cover buttons ($6.20) (already had the template & tools)
  • 1 – 6″ straight upholstery needle ($1.5)
  • 1 coffee table ($0 since I already had it)

First I flipped the table over, and unscrewed the 10 screws to remove the table top from the frame, then, using my spray paints painted the frame and allowed it to completely dry.


While the drying was going on I measured, marked and measured again, on the ‘back’ side of the table top where I wanted the button tufts to be located.  In this instance I wanted two rows of four buttons.  Using a 1/2″ bit in my drill I then drilled the eight holes I needed.


Next came the foam and sheet.  The sheet, doubled over, then the foam, then the upside down table top.  I trimmed the excess foam from the ends, leaving enough so that it would wrap the edge completely.


Next, I sat in the middle of my project, literally, and starting at the corners began pulling, wrapping and stapling the sheet and foam to the bottom side.  I used 5/8″ upholstery staples in my staple gun. Then trimmed the excess material.


Here’s the new bench top prior to adding the faux leather and tufting buttons.


Almost done! Just needs faux leather, tufting, and buttons!

Almost done! Just needs faux leather, tufting, and buttons!

I had to wait a couple of days for my fabric to be delivered by UPS.  But, once it arrived I lay the fabric good side down, put the bench top top-side-down, then once again sat in the middle of my project and trimmed excess fabric then began at the corners with the stapling.

fabric down

fabric on

I think covering the buttons was the hardest part, resulting in mashing my thumb a couple of times, here’s a quick picture tutorial of button covering 101:



Maybe I should take that back, doing the actual tufting/securing the buttons may have been the most physically challenging aspect.  I used a long, straight upholstery needle, waxed upholstery thread, and my handy-dandy staple gun.  Starting from the back/bottom side I stuck the needle (w/approximately 18″ of thread doubled through the eye) through each of the pre-drilled holes, up through the padding and fabric, then through the button shank.  To secure the button I passed the needle through the shank a second time, then poked the needle back through the fabric and padding and ‘roped’ the hole (usually by the third time of ‘feeling’ about with the needle point).  Tightening the thread to where the button would be flush with the top of the bench I then shot a staple near the hole and threaded both the ‘tail of thread’ and the needle under the staple and grasped all four strands of thread tightly.  Using my other hand I pushed on the button, mashing it down as far as I could while pulling the threads on the other side as tightly as I could.  That done I wrapped the thread through and around the staple a couple of more times then knotted the thread several times, trimmed the tail a couple of inches past the last knot and stapled it to the wood.

Now try that seven more times…..

If you do, you end up with a new bench:




AFTER another

Nanny’s Teacakes

I haven’t made these in years, mainly because The Hubs made fun of them by calling them ‘hockey pucks’. I refer to them as ‘hard tack’ for no other reason that they are *supposed* to get hard. When my mother-in-law first taught me to make these she told me that she used to make them ‘in the old days’ for ‘the men’ to put in their saddlebags to carry on their cattle round-ups and drives. They lasted for days and were perfect with morning coffee, negating the need to ‘cook’ breakfast on a campfire.

Give them a try! They are great with coffee, hot chocolate,or tea. Just sweet enough without being too sweet; great for ‘dunking’ especially after they reach their intended ‘hardness’.

What you need:
1 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 tspn. Vanilla
1/2 tspn. Nutmeg
1 cup Buttermilk
1-1/2 tspn. Baking Soda
8 to 10 cups plain/all purpose flour

Cream together the shortening and sugar

Next, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, nutmeg and stir until well combined

Combine buttermilk and baking soda then add to mixing bowl. Start mixing in flour, a little at a time to make a soft dough. (8 to 8-1/2 cups usually)

Dump dough onto floured surface and roll to desired thickness.

Either cut into strips lengthwise then across for desired size or, as I’ve done below, use a biscuit cutter. (One with fluted sides would be pretty)

Place on greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. When done remove from sheet and allow to cool on wire rack.

Fall Means it’s Time for Dragon Chili

Dragon Chili

Dragon Chili

My tried and true recipe for chili.  It’s great in a bowl or in a baked potato. (serves approx. 10)

What you need:

  • 1lb Jimmy Dean Original/Regular Sausage
  • 1lb Ground Meat – Chili Grind is best but not mandantory
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper – chopped
  • 2 cloves – minced OR 3 heaping Tblspns minced garlic
  • Optional – 1 Jalapeno pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Wine – Burgandy preferred but really, ANY will do
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 3 Tblspns Chili Powder
  • 2 LARGE cans Italian Pear Tomatoes/Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 can Pinto Beans (15 oz)
  • 2 cans Dark Red Kidney Beans (15 oz each) – (Do NOT use the creole/new orleans/cajun ‘style’ that has that groddy sauce in them!)
  • Papa Guys Seasoning
  • Kosher Salt
  • Shredded/Grated Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Optional – Baked Potato (1 per person)

What you do:

In a large Dutch Oven fry up those 6 slices of bacon, drain well and set aside; crumble up the Jimmy Dean Sausage and fry – breaking it apart as it cooks so it’s smallish, drain well and set aside; now crumble up the ground beef and fry, again, breaking it apart so it’s smallish, drain well and set aside;

Now, take your chopped onion, bell pepper, diced garlic and optional diced jalepeno and throw it in the dutch oven, saute 5 minutes, then stir in the mustard, celery seeds, and chili powder, simmer for 10 minutes.

Mash the tomatoes in a large bowl then pour into dutch oven with the vegetable spice mixture, along with the wine and worcestershire sauce, and meats. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to simmer, now’s the time to bring your seasoning up to taste with the Papa Guys and the Kosher Salt, this is one of those things where measuring just doesn’t do the trick, but I’d start with a teaspoon or two of the Papa Guys and a tablespoon of the kosher salt; stir that in well and taste, add more seasoning if necessary, otherwise let that pot simmer for 30 minutes while you go check your email.  Pop back into the kitchen occasionally to stir.

When the timer goes ‘ding’ it’s time to add the three cans of beans (DO NOT DRAIN THE BEANS! ADD WITH THE LIQUID IN THE CAN). Stir those suckers in well and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and continue stirring occasionally over the next 60 minutes as it simmers. (Now is when YOU go check your Facebook, email, and check the latest HBO Game of Thrones season two News & Updates)

Serve in bowls or fill hot baked potato;

Top with shredded cheese (I prefer cheddar) and a dollop of sour cream.

In My Backyard at Toledo Bend Resevoir

We had a huge (dead) pine tree taken down today and spent the afternoon cutting it up, burning, and cleaning the yard up from the bark, limbs and pine cones; just the usual mess involved with felling a tree.  While taking a break we noticed a very large bird up in one of the other (very alive) pine trees.  Couldn’t tell much about it with our old eyes so I ran inside and got the binoculars.  As we passed the binoculars around and got a good look at the huge bird the debating began.  Was it an Osprey or a young Bald Eagle?  So I ran back up the hill to the house and grabbed my camera (an old Sony ‘super SteadyShot 5.1MP digital with f=6.0-72.0mm 1:2.8-3.7 Optical12x/Digital12x zoom lens).  I zoomed to the max and got the following shots (these are SOOC/no editing) I think the first one is the best:

Young Bald Eagle 1

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle 2

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle 3

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle 4

Young Bald Eagle

Things that make me go hmmmmm

So my youngest daughter and her husband are closing on their second home tomorrow.  I’m still not really sure why they are putting their first home up for rent (since God knows you can’t sell a house in these days of Nobamics) and moving nearly an hour away from there.  They *say* it’s because they are tired of living in a small town near a military base because of all the nut jobs (yes… they were ON Ft. Polk the day the *alledgedly* crazy army psychologist *alledgedly* shot, wounded and killed all those soldiers… yes there were in lock down with their baby and three year old) but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s because I’m a terrible grandmother.

Well, not *terrible* but ‘terrible’.  Is it my fault that pre-adolescent boys that try to shoot cats with projectiles piss me off?  That I lose it when said pre-adolescent boys *explain* they do this because they don’t *like* cats?  Is it because I asked these same pre-adolescent boys what I should do to them since I didn’t particularly *like* pre-adolescent boys?  That maybe I should just find an appropriate projectile to send their way?

I’m still not sure.  But then, maybe that’s why I’m not invited to the housewarming……

New Years Day

In keeping with one of my many New Year’s Resolutions I’m blogging today.  Today is a groddy day again, much cooler though; at least the Rose Bowl Parade is on (and commercial free on HGTV) and there are hopefully a couple of *good* football games on at some point today.

It’s one week from tonight that Change Of Plans premieres on FOX @ 8pm(EST).  I already have the DVR set to record it just in case something happens and I’m not near a television next Saturday night.  Of course Joe Flanigan being in it is the main reason I’m looking forward to watching this family friendly movie (back-end pilot), but, it looks like it will be a cute, fun thing to watch regardless.  I’m also trying to win the viewing ‘bundle’ that OurKidsMom is offering at her blog; check it out.

New Years Eve

It’s groddy outside. Yes, I said *groddy*.

Because it is damp, sorta cool, sorta warm. I need to blow leaves but feel more like taking a nap. The Hubby called from Frankfurt about 2:30 this morning to let me know he’d landed safely… no word about taking off for the next leg of his trip =S.

Groddiness and nap-time aside, I was able to accomplish a bit this morning:
Got my own special homemade from scratch cornbread made (= health)
Corned Beef Brisket and Cabbage (= wealth) is simmering;
Hoppin’ John is simmering as well (black-eyed peas = good luck)

New Years Menu - Cornbread, Hoppin' John, Corned Beef, Cabbage, Rice

New Years Plate

Good Luck, Good Health, Good Wealth!

So I’m set for my midnight pea-party tonight even if I am having to spend it alone. It willl *not* turn into a pity party… unless I drink too much merlot…

This bottle of ‘Sweet Bitch’ is awesome… a Chilean Merlot; gives a sweet bite to your nose as you inhale right before experiencing it’s smooth, fruity flavor as it races over your tongue.

Sweet Bitch Merlot

Sweet Bitch Merlot