June 30, 2011

Strawberry, Peach and Strawberry-Peach Jams...

'Tis the season.... 

Yesterday I bought
5 1/2 pounds of eastern peaches and
6 pounds of strawberries

I want to show you how easy this whole process is!
I've been making jams & jellies since I was in
high school. Jams, jellies and pickles were the first things
I learned how to can! You can do this...

 From this.... 
Fresh Strawberries &
Fresh Peaches  (forgot to take a picture)

Minus a few of each for fresh eating...

 To this.... water bathing the 8 oz jars
And, finally this....
8 pints of strawberry-peach jam
8 pints of peach jam
18 pints of strawberry jam (only 9 pictured)

Large cooking pot (mine is 6 quart)
wooden spoon or heavy stirring spoon
ladle (I use a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup)
a large cereal bowl with hot water for the lids
8-9 eight ounce Ball Jelly jars with lids & rings
Large cooking pot to use as a water bath (9 qt. stock pot will work)

The recipes I used came from the book Saving the Seasons
(How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything)


5 Cups crushed strawberries (washed, stemmed & cut up)
1 Box  Powdered Pectin
7 Cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter (optional... I leave this out)

Put the strawberries in a large cooking pot and stir in the pectin.
Measure out the sugar and put it into a separate bowl.
Bring the strawberries to a full roaring boil (STIRRING CONSTANTLY!)

Stir in the sugar and stir in quickly, returning to a full boil and boil for
1 minute (STIRRING CONSTANTLY!) Remove from heat and
skim foam off the surface of jam. Ladle quickly into clean jars,
leaving 1/4 inch of head space.

 Tighten lids and process for
10 minutes in a boiling bath. Makes 8-9 half pints.

To make the peach jam you'll follow the directions above but
make the
ingredient changes to the following:

4 Cups peaches (washed, peeled & diced)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Box pectin
5 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter (optional)

Cooking method & water bath method is the same as above.


I had 2 cups left over cut up peaches
so I added 2 cups of strawberries and then
followed the peach jam recipe & water bath!!

It turned out VERY TASTY!!
Ahhh, it feels good to be canning again!

I'm sharing this on Simple Lives Thursday!
Go check out the other awesome ideas
everyone is sharing from across
the globe!

FYI: The difference between jams & jellies is that jams use the whole
fruit and it is included in the jar where jellies only use the juices of the fruits!

Check for yourself next time you
are in the stores....strawberry jam vs. apple jelly 
(you can see through the apple jelly!)

A Fun New (to me) Word "Juxtaposition"....

I was reading a friend's blog this morning. In her writings she used the word 'juxtaposition'! I've never heard of this word before. My 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Bowie would tell me get a dictionary and look it up! Over the years, I found myself echoing that teacher (and many of my teachers) to my kids... get a dictionary! Although, I will say, I never told them to get a dictionary to look up a word to figure out how to spell it! That is one frustrating memory from my early elementary years! Ha ha ha...  oh the odd things we remember! Enough digressing...

Times have changed some... now I just need to click over one tab and type in the word and up comes many choices. I have used information from both "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" and ""

1)  two random objects moving in parallel, a technique intended to stimulate creativity.  
2) an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

USED IN A SENTENCE: The interior designer like the juxtapositional look of my totally white kitchen with its blue backsplash!

What a fun word! Fun to say, fun to think about things that are juxtapositional! I thought it would have something to do with how things are positioned or seen as positioned... 

ORIGIN:   1655–65; < French < Latin juxtā side by side + French position position

OK, enough English lessons for today! (PS.. thanks Heide for unknowingly spurring me on)

June 24, 2011

Today, Friday, June 24th

Outside my window... stands an empty clothesline. Thankfully
the clothes made it inside before the rain started.

I am thinking... about my summer to do list.

I am hearing... the rain gently falling, the birds chirping outside and the hum of the refrigerator.

I am wearing... wool socks, jeans & a warm shirt... it's a chilly morning here in New England. 

I am remembering... how easy life seemed to be when the kids were all little and safely tucked in at an early hour.

I am hoping... and praying for each of the kids (young adults) knowing that they have a Heavenly Father who is watching out for them.

From the garden this week... the veggies and seeds are all planted. Now we need to wait patiently, but we did pick a little rhubarb!

I am pondering... over the verse, "Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better then silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1
Around the house... the house stands quiet today. I wonder what tales would be told if these walls could talk?

One of my favorite things... baby feet. These little feet are only
one day old!

Have a wonderful and blessed day!

June 22, 2011

Sprouting... I'm Trying It Again!

                                          I decided to give sprouting a try again! I found this
Easy Sprout kit and bought some organic seeds
for sprouting. These seeds are a 3 part salad
sprouting mix...   alfalfa, broccoli and radish!
 First you put about 2 Tablespoons of seed into the 
liner cup (it has holes on the bottom) and rinse the 
seeds, swishing them around a little bit.

Then, you put the liner into the outer cup and
fill about half way with water, up the cover on and....
 let it sit for 5-6 hours on the counter
out of the way of direct sunlight.

Rinse thoroughly... and now get at much 
water out as possible. (twirl the cup with your hand
in the sink.  The centrifugal force will 
pull the excess water right out!) 
It was amazing after soaking about 2 tablespoons
of seeds for 5 hours, you could really see them
swell up already!

You do this every 12 hours for about 5 days....
End of day 2
 End of day 3
Middle of day 4

Day 5 starting to green up

I'm not sure if I put enough seeds to make the sprouts
grow up to the top of the container.
But they are close!!

They are DELICIOUS on a salad and in a sandwich!
I'm amazed at how easy this was... 

Check it out on Youtube:
Sprout People
They make it look soooo easy! And
it really is!

I also have a plastic lid with screen to use on a
mason jar!! You really don't need to
spend alot of money on sprouting!

I'm also sharing this on Simple Lives Thursday!

June 20, 2011

Crochet Project Hex Squares Tote

I found a neat looking project online a couple of weeks ago.
It is one that involves making 'hex squares' instead of 'granny squares'
and them attaching them to form a bag.
Colors... well, the finished ones I found online had all sorts
of colors! Some were orange, yellow & brown, others were
reds, blues, yellows, greens etc...  I chose to go with
a bright & happy looking bunch of colors.
These were easy enough to make...  I've never liked
switching colors (I really don't like all the tails!)
but it worked out ok!
Attaching them was easier then I thought!
I'm not happy with the funky bottom, but I'll figure
that out with my next one...
                                                      The handles - straps were relatively
easy to make too! Now I just need to
pick out some fabric and make a liner
and it will be finished!

Below you can see the next one I'm working on... 
all blue with a yellow center! I think I'll make two 
different shades of blue... and see how that looks.  

LINKS for lessons on how to make this fun tote
can be found here:

I think I will make myself a 'granny square afgan'
now that I know how crochet the squares together nicely!

June 14, 2011

Roasted Veggie Soup.... A Corn Chowder Variation....

It is yet again, another cool, rainy day here in New Hampshire... but, it is ALWAYS rainy during this week of the year. It is motorcycle week! The bikers have had a rainy 'celebration-festival' more times than not lately, but they keep on coming! When we were kids... this was a weekend event, but for quite a few years now, it has turned into a full week (plus the weekends on either end) of events! Have fun and be safe!! (Yes, it can be done.... contrary to my brother's opinion!)

Well, since I am home and can't hang out the laundry, I might as well tackle this idea that has been mulling around in my head...  corn chowder but with a twist.

Roasted vegetables... mushrooms & zucchini and maybe even roast the potatoes & onions too! I looked online at the site I go to when I want to see if it has been done already... and I found roasted cauliflower soup (that looked good!) but not what I was looking for. SO... maybe this experiment will find me with another family favorite! I'll let you know what they said! Here goes!

First, I start the 'smoked ham hocks' in a little water. This will add nice flavor. I'm not using lots of water since I don't want to dump the flavor down the sink when I add veggies & milk! Now I know most people don't hocks in their freezer, and that's OK. Sometimes I use bacon, sometimes ham... this time, ham hocks.... so whatever you like or have on hand will do just fine! (I'm wondering how sweet sausage would taste in a corn chowder... but that's for another rainy day!)

Now, on to the veggies... I washed and cut up 6-8 small zucchini squash & some mushrooms & sweet onions.... tossed lightly with some oil and just a little bit of salt. Bake this at 450* for about 30-35 minutes.

Now use the same process to roast some red potatoes.... cut up the potatoes (when using red potatoes, I leave the skins on!) Bake till tender, approximately 35-40 minutes at 450*. Add all of the veggies into a stock pot and add your corn.... 

Then add your choice.... milk, Half & Half, heavy cream or a combination thereof! I use milk... and 1% milk at that, but I also add instant potato flakes to help with thickening it up a bit!

IT SMELLS DELICIOUS! The hardest part of this recipe is not nibbling on the roasted veggies or having a small serving of soup before everyone comes home for dinner!

Now I'm off to make some dinner rolls to go with it! 

June 12, 2011

Granola Bars

I tried a new recipe today....  it's one that I found online and after jotting it down, I neglected to add where I found it. I NEED to get better at that detail!!


4 Cups quick cooking oats
(Toast oats on an ungreased sheet for about 15-20 minutes.
Stir once twice. Remove from oven and let cool to room temp.)
 1/3 Cup of melted butter
2/3 Cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine these ingredients in a large bowl then add oats
and mix thoroughly.
 3/4 Cup chocolate chips  (I used mini chips)

Be sure the oats have cooled first or the chips will
get soft! :)

 Spread into a 9X13 pan, lightly oiled and press
firmly to flatten. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool and then cut into bars.

Next time I make these, I may make some substitutions like:

peanut butter in place of butter
maple syrup in place of honey
nuts, sunflower seeds, and-or
pumpkin seeds in place of chocolate chips.