Time to finish our first batch of Maple Syrup.  We have been boiling the same batch off and on for a week adding sap as we go and today was the day to finish the first batch.  We needed a sap hydrometor and its holder otherwise sometimes known as a candy thermometer.  A syrup one is labled for where the sugar content should be for syrup.  You fill the metal container with the syrup and set the hydrometer in it to bob around giving you a reading.  If it completely sinks go back to boiling some more

Here is the final batch boiling down inside.  I made a mistake and boiled it a little too much outside and had to add more sap quickly or I would have had a batch of maple candy and not syrup.

While the last batch is boiling down time to make a batch of Skillet Cornbread.  I have to say I have up until a week ago used Jiffy Cornbread mix for my cornbread and now have been converted to this new recipe.  This recipe comes from www.thepioneerwoman.com she has a great website with a funny blog about living on a ranch and also a cooking portion of the website with recipes from her kitchen.  I got this one from her cookbook Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I recommend both the website and the cookbook if you need a little inspiration or a change in cooking recipes as I sorrily needed

I doubled this recipe and added a cup of sugar.  I like sweet corn bread like the Jiffy type and that made it perfect

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1tsp salt

1tbls baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup plus 2tbs shortening

Set oven at 450.  Combined cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder and stir together.  Mix buttermilk, milk and egg together in a separate bowl and add the egg.  Add the baking soda last to the wet stuff.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients.  Stir with a fork until just combined do not overstir.  In a small bowl melt the 1/4 cup shortening.  Slowly add melted shortening to the batter stirring constantly until just combined.  In iron skillet over high heat melt the 2 tbs remaining of shortening.  Pour the batter into the hot skillet and spread evenly over the surface.  Cook on the stovetop for 1 minute then bake for 20 – 25 until golden brown.  The edges should be crispy.

OMG (Oh my god) heavenly!!!  Real maple syrup hot over skillet cornbread.  If you do not have a week to make maple syrup and maple trees to tap please go buy some real stuff and try it, you will not regret it.

I think Steve was actually speechless.  This was one of those meals that you will remember until you are toothless in a nursing home and the thought makes you drool as they serve you lime Jello.  How is that for a description 🙂

We canned a few jars.  Now on to our 2nd bigger batch