Monday, June 22, 2009

Jamtastic

So, this last week our local berry farm "Spooners" opened up for their annual strawberry harvest. Well for those of you not around the Pacific northwest, Spooners are the BEST strawberries on the planet!! They are grown here and you can even go to the farm on Yelm Highway and pick them yourself! We usually go every year but with a crawler in the family, we decided the sandy strawberry patch was not the best place to go so we bought a flat at the farmers market.

When we brought them home Bella was so excited about all the strawberries. She was such a big help in processing them too. I pinched off the tops with my fingers (messy, I know but it gets the job done better then the strawberry topper thing I have) and put them in the strainer to be rinsed after they were rinsed, Bella, who was standing on a chair, would grab one and slice it with the egg slicer and stick the slices in a bowl. I told her that if she did not eat any strawberries while we were making jam then when we were done we should make strawberry shortcake with whip cream. That did the trick! She never ate one strawberry!!.

Well this year I decided to make cooked jam. I have never done jam cooked before, I always have been a freezer jam person. But we have been really focusing of food storage lately so I thought I would give cooed jam a whack. I got some pectin that was really interesting. It was called no sugar needed. It is used for making sugar free jam. I thought this would be great since the berries are really sweet already so I would not need to add sugar. Well, I cooked the berries according to the instructions and bottled it and canned it. Which was really easy by the way! The batch yielded 6 pints with about 1/2 cup leftover. I but the 1/2 cup in the fridge for breakfast the next morning.

The next morning came and we were sitting down for breakfast and tried the jam for the first time cold. When it was hot it tasted just fine. a little tart but not too bad. But, cold it was REALLY tart. So much so that I had to mix in some sugar. So in the future when we open the jars of jam we will need to add a bit of sugar so it will taste good!! Live and learn!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

What to make for dinner when you can't make dinner

I know I have not posted anything lately but I honestly have not been cooking lately. My poor neck had been acting up and with all the pain meds I am on, putting together a meal takes WAY to much brain power. So I thought I would write about my saving grace. The only way I ever get through these patches of ill health is to be prepared. During regular days when I cook, we always set an extra place at the table. That place it Jacob's lunch container. That way he always has a lunch. For some unknown reason he would rather go hungry then pack his own lunch. So packing up dinner leftovers ensures he has something to eat the next day at work. But every so often I make a HUGE dinner. Sometimes I can't help it. It usually happens when I make casserole, enchiladas, or lasagna. We ALWAYS have a ton of leftovers. Sometimes enough for at least two more meals. I put them in a large container and freeze them for later use.
So this past week or so, we have been living on our frozen leftovers, boxed mac and cheese and Pb&j. So far we have survived pretty well. Although I found the boxed mac and cheese did not settle well with Bella. She has had a bad reaction to it. I like to think it is a testament to how she normally eats. The over processed nature of Kraft Mac and Cheese is something she has never had before. Whenever we have mac and cheese I make it myself. The only time she has ever had boxed mac and cheese it has been Annie's organic, all natural.
The next big project we are going to do as soon as I am feeling better is the make homemade egg rolls. We have done it before and really have fun doing it. So that is what I will blog about next. Thanks for sticking with me. Lets hope my neck get better soon. For more details on that check out my Family Blog.

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