Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Little Miss Cora visited on Saturday for her very first Easter Egg hunt. 


John showed her that there was candy inside each egg. A new precedent was set and Cora ate one piece of candy from each egg. 


After finding her Easter basket, Cora threw each item over her shoulder or in front of her onto the grass. 


Cora was most excited about “her own Peeps!!!”

After the egg hunt, Cora settled in on the couch for her tradition of watching the Minions movie with John. 

HTBS and Tuesday

Today is a day in which I deviate from my normal happy posts about jam and the like. Today, is a day for a public service announcement. Today is a Tuesday. Today is a Tuesday when drinking a glass of sparkling wine after work and writing my thoughts is a great combination.


Today is a day which I explain the term HTBS. The term was coined by my sister Rachel. Or rather, by my brother-in-law Scott (in secret, the reasons for which will become apparent immediately).

HTBS = Hair-Trigger Bitch Syndrome

A syndrome that is reflected in split second (or hair-trigger) negative changes in mood or response. The syndrome is typically experienced by women, but some men are impacted as well. The syndrome can result in an undesirable experience for a spouse, partner, child, friend, family member, co-worker, or even a person walking too slow and taking up a WHOLE aisle with a big cart in the grocery store.

Symptoms of HTBS include general crankiness which is exacerbated by “the littlest thing”. Once the person with HTBS is triggered, others are immediately impacted. The person who experiences the greatest impact may not be the person who is the closest in physical proximity to the person with HTBS. Anyone in the building or accessible by alternative means of communication (i.e., phone, text, email, distant gesture) may also be affected.

The person with HTBS feels like they “are on their last nerve”. People with HTBS often describe feelings of general irritation which can be immediately heightened by catastrophic proportions by a nearby person’s words, body language and/or ability to draw breath. Some examples of triggers for someone with HTBS include:

  • The sound of adjusting a pillow on the couch while watching a movie
  • Being the person close in physical distance
  • Doing something previously requested with a pleasant attitude (e.g., taking out the garbage)
  • Performing a kind gesture or act for someone with HTBS
  • Looking in the general direction of someone with HTBS
  • Eating chips or carrots with your mouth open
  • Breathing
  • Thinking silently

The resulting combination of someone experiencing a HTBS triggering event and another individual includes yelling, eye-rolling, snarky remarks, huffing, the word “fine”, crying, maniacal laughter and other concerning responses.

These are some general examples, everyone with HTBS responds differently. The variety of triggers and responses are what makes this syndrome so dangerous and unpredictable.

HTBS often presents itself at the same time as Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, use caution when referring to PMS and/or this public service announcement at the time. HTBS can be dormant for days, weeks, months or even years and present itself with no notice. (The words “hair-trigger” aren’t included in the name of the syndrome for nothing.)

After a triggering event (which frankly, is always a freaking mystery), the person with HTBS may appear calm. Be careful. Consider moving to another state and changing your phone number for a few days.

Sigh. More sparkling wine for me. And maybe a time out.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 2017 is going to be a great year! Aunt Becky’s is anticipating some big changes.

Events

Aunt Becky’s will be selling at annual and quarterly events during 2017. The Crafty Wonderland Summer and Holiday shows will continue to be favorites. Look for opportunities to buy jam at fairs, festivals and bazaars to be announced soon.

Due to time constraints, Aunt Becky’s will no longer be selling at Farmers’ Markets. Thank you to all my customers and fellow vendors at the Moreland and Cedar Mill Farmers’ Markets.

Flavors

2016 welcomed new favorites including Fig Honey Jam and Raspberry Pomegranate Jam as well as the return of Spiced Pear Butter. New flavors are on the horizon for 2017. Aunt Becky’s will finally master Blueberries with a new Blueberry sauce. Pomelo Marmalade and Meyer Lemon Marmalade will be retired in 2017. Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Vanilla Bean will continue to be available.

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Recipes

2017 will be the year of recipes! Okay, at least a seasonal recipe each month. January will begin the fun with a new marmalade recipe.

2017 is going to Rock! Kick it! Be Rad! Okay, 2017 will be filled with jam, puns, nieces and nephews and dorky nerd references.

Quince Butter

Quince Butter is now available. If you’re not familiar with Quince, here are the basics about this Old World fruit:

  • Looks like a cross beteeen an apple and a pear. The inside looks like a apple when raw and turns a deep rosy orange color when cooked. 
  • Feels hard like a watermelon rind and fuzzy like a peach. 
  • Smells like flowers and pumpkin when cooking. 
  • Tastes like honey and … quince. 


      Quince is it’s own fruit; nothing else compares. Because quince has a very high pectin content, it’s a natural thickening agent for jams and jellies. When commercial pectin became available, quince lost its popularity. 

      Quince is still well loved around the world.  It’s often paired with Manchego cheese in Spain. The Portuguse word for Marmalade derives from the word quince. Quince is a common fruit in Lebanese and Iranian and other Middle Eastern cooking. It’s popular in Russia and the Balkan countries as well as Peru. 

      Try some this weekend at Crafty Wonderland. 

      Raspberry Pomegranate Jam

      Raspberry Pomegranate Jam is Aunt Becky’s newest flavor, just in time for the holidays. 


      My Mom Dorothy inspired my newest flavor. (And yes she has a little dog, but her name isn’t Toto, it’s Ruby.) My Mom has a Pomegranate tree in her yard in Phoenix. Like me, she can be rather ambitious at times. She juiced her pomegranates and got enough juice to make jelly. If you’re thinking “that would take forever” you would be correct! She shipping the resulting Pomegranate Jelly from Phoenix to Portland with a suggestion. 

      Opening the resulting Pomegranate Jelly, I was unsure what to expect. The dark thick jelly definitely tasted like Pomegranate but there was something missing. Time for some mixing. I unbottled the eleven jars, added a healthy amount of raspberries and organic cane sugar and…magic! 

      The finished Raspberry Pomegranate Jam is delicious! The Pomegranate juice adds a depth and richness to the sweet tart raspberries. A tablespoon of fresh Pomegranate seeds float on top of each jar for a little something extra special. 


      For good measure, I took a jar to work with a loaf of fresh bakery bread and a round of Brie. My coworkers were kind enough to sample the jam, “just to make sure”. We ate the whole jar. 

      And not to worry, I can definitely make more. I’ll just use Pomegranate juice for future batches. My Mom has decided that juicing Pomegranate is not worth the effort. 

      Small Business Saturday & Flavors with Limited Inventory

      Happy Thankgiving! Gobble! Gobble! Today is Small Business Saturday! I love and support small businesses and have some specific plans for shopping today. 

      But I also love Black Friday shopping. I used to turn up my nose and scorn people who got up at the crack of dawn to stand in line for a discount TV or toaster. But then my eldest niece Anna was born. And then Grace. And then Lily. Whew! My brother in law Matt was working at Target managing the front registers while going to school full time. And my sister Heather was a stay at home mom with three kids in diapers, age 3 and younger.  She had exactly $5 a week to spend on “fun”. So saving 50% off on a toy seemed like a big deal. 

      I reluctantly went with my sister Heather one year, and found out it was fun! It’s a contest to try and get everything on your list. And you make friends with strangers standing next to you while you wait. These best part is that it’s legal to sell liquor in the grocery stores in California. Coincidentally, the like to check out always snakes through the liquor aisle. So you can impulse buy a libation and also shop the rejects that people picked up then changed their mind about while in line. Some of my favorite rejects snugged up to a bottle of vodka or gin include children’s pjs, Disney DVDs, lip smackers, and Barbies. 

      All that to say, I have no problem with Black Friday shopping. My favorite store is Fred Meyer because they sell everything, the people are super nice, I always get what I want, and they give out free coffee and mini donuts. This year I started a new tradition of also buying toys for the local toy drive. I only bought toys that were 50% off or more and evenly split boys and girls toys. Yippee! Lots of toys to give away! 

      So what’s left on my list after my shopping spree on Friday morning? The special gifts. My Small Business Saturday is reserved for those people or gifts that just don’t fit in a big box store. For example, I’ll be special ordering custom earrings from my friend Alison of Alison Park Designs. 

      After you’ve sorted through your gift giving list, please consider giving Aunt Becky’s jam, fruit butter, marmalade and sauce. Free gift wrap is always included too! 

      If you have a specific person or flavor in mind, a few of Aunt Becky’s flavors have limited inventory including: 

      • Honeycrisp Apple Butter
      • Roasted Italian Plum Butter
      • Cherry Amaretto Sauce
      • Loganberry Jam
      • Meyer Lemon Marmalade
      • Seville Orange Marmalade
      • Rose Petal Jelly

      If any of these are your favorites, don’t wait until mid-December to order. Order online for shipping. You can also email auntbeckys@gmail.com for a Portland order. 

      In case you haven’t noticed, I love spoiling my nieces and nephews. I also love my customers to be happy and get just what they want. 

      So happy Thanksgiving! Happy Small Business Saturday 🙂 

      Online Auction 

      Aunt Becky’s is a proud supporter of The Refugee Center Online, a not-for-profit organization that uses technology to help refugees and displaced individuals build new lives in America.


      The Refugee Center Online annual auction will be held from November 25 to November 29, 2016. Aunt Becky’s has two prize packages you can bid to win. Each prize package includes 3 to 4 jars. 

      • Oregon favorites package = Marionberry Jam,  Rhubarb Fruit Spread, Caramel Pear Butter and Reduced Sugar Hood Strawberry Fruit Spread. 
      • Ribbon Reserves package = Blackberry Merlot Jam, Raspberry Jam with Pear Infused Brandy and Peach Bourbon Jam. 

      You can bid on the Oregon Favorites package here or the Ribbon Reserves package here. Please consider checking out more items for bid and The Refugee Center Online.