Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fantastical Freezer Jam 30 minutes! But you have to wait 24 hours to eat it...THAT'S the hard part.

Once upon a time...
.errrr.....20 plus years ago, I made jelly in 4H. Green Apple Mint Jelly. It was not incredibly difficult, but I didn't love the product. In fact, I think my Mom had that jelly on the shelves for years afterward. Ew.

The last few years, whenever I am in a nicer grocery, I find myself looking to see if they have strawberry-rhubarb jam. They never do. For some reason I love this combination of tart and sweet. Recently I heard from a friend that making freezer jam was very simple, so I decided to try it out. The product was DELICIOUS! And, it proved to be a pretty fun mother-daughter activity too.

Here are the raw ingredients for the yummiest strawberry-rhubarb jam you've ever had!

Add one, cute, masher.

Melt a TON of sugar and sure-jell together per instructions in package. Add water. Stir constantly until melted and bubbling.

Add mashed fruit, stir. (I also steamed the rhubarb for few minutes before adding to the berries)

What you need

4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 lbs. fully ripe strawberries and 1 lb. rhubarb)
4 cups sugar, measured into pan
3/4 cup water
1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin

Make It

RINSE clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.

STEM and crush strawberries thoroughly, one cup at a time. Move crushed strawberries into large bowl. Cut rhubarb into 2-inch pieces. Steam. Add to crushed strawberries and roughly mash. Potato mashers work great for this.

MIX pectin and sugar in large saucepan. Add water. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 min. Add fruit mixture; stir 3 min. or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)

FILL all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Road Trippin': Washington, DC

First of all, sorry to those of you who check the blog for updates and haven't seen any since Cinco De Mayo (at least you had a yummy picture to look at, eh?). We've been doing great, and in fact, been pretty busy with plenty to blog about...only haven't gotten it done. I'm hoping to catch you up a bit this week on our happenings.

Most of all, our recent "Educational Vacation" to our Nation's Capital, last week.

Chris has several days of meetings scheduled at headquarters (read: FREE HOTEL!) and we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to show the kids around DC.

We've been talking to them about it for weeks, I even picked up some books for the kiddos on the subject, and they were so excited!

Also, I have to say, they are PERFECT ages for some exploratory learning. The secret here is, have a plan, but don't be so rigid about sticking to said plan. ONE activity a day is plenty when the kids are happy! I let them chose a place per day, and the rest was gravy..if it happened, which most of it did.

The Critters in front of the White House. We had just had lunch (see below) overlooking the South Lawn of the White House while the Mexican Delegation came and went amid sirens and lights. This was our 3rd "walking around day" and they were still doing so great!

PB & J tasted SO good that day, after paying for over-priced museum food the previous 2 days.

This is the first time any of our kids have traveled by Subway. I'm glad their first experience was on the Metro, as the NY system isn't as clean and family-friendly. We did well for the most part. The last ride was a little hairy, we missed our stop because an elderly woman was between us and the door and had littered the ground with her grocery bags. By the time I convinced her that she needed to pick them up so I could get by (with my stroller and 3 kids), the doors were closing...and these doors are not the kind that reopen when you stick your arm in them, if you get my drift. Luckily, the next stop was where our dinner plans were, so we called and made arrangements to wait while Chris walked up to meet us....and everything was fine. But, whew, if looks could kill, I think that poor old lady wouldn't have made it off the train that night. Chris calls it my "stinkeye" look.

The Washington Monument was something my kids wanted tickets for SO badly. Having been a decade since my last visit, I forgot that you had to be there FIRST THING before the tickets were all distributed for the day. We missed out that day, and then the kids slept in (and I let them) the next day so we missed them again. Savannah, my little optimist, says, "At least we have something to look forward to next time we visit!"

Notice the skies, the first day was misty rain all day, the second was gray and overcast...but the 3rd was perfect and clear.

And speaking of the Washington Monument....did you know there was an Original Washington Monument, and it was more in the style of the Lincoln Monument? Neither did I!

Here it is! It's housed on the 2nd floor of the American History Museum. Very Neoclassical, don't you think?

And of course, we had to get a picture of the "Dum Dum" statue at the Natural History Museum. Just for fun.

Speaking of fun....the kids posed by their favorite animals, and it turns out there is quite a resemblance.

We had a great time in the evening with Daddy too. It was nice to be together during a travel week and have those worlds merge for a bit. We dined out, had ice cream in Old Alexandria, walked along the waterfront on the Potomac, and even saw Alice in Wonderland together one night. We love being a family!

Keep on Adventuring!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Fiesta Staple

Non-fried, Fried Ice Cream

This recipe comes from Williams-Sonoma ('cept I threw in the cinnamon), back in the day I worked at a Mexican place called El Pollo Asado where I made this dessert in big baseball sized portions... That is a fun way to eat it. You basically ball the ice cream up and roll it in the cornflake mixture, wrap in Saran, then freeze. Perfect for your FiEsTa!

  • 4 C crushed corn flakes (put in a lg Ziploc bag and roll a soup can over them)
  • 1 C coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1/2 C melted butter
  • 1/2 gal. softened vanilla ice cream
  • hot fudge and/or caramel topping
  • 1 can of whip cream and maraschino cherries (for the top!)

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Press half of the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan. Add softened ice cream on top of mixture (in dollops...if you spread too harshly the bottom gets disturbed). Spoon the rest of the mixture on top, evenly. Cover and freeze. When ready to serve, cut into squares and top with fudge, caramel, whipped topping and cherries...add your favorite toppings if not listed here...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Truth, Love and Beauty

A New Life

I've been following NieNie's story since shortly after her near-fatal crash in August 2008. I am continually inspired by her strength. I was touched when I came across this link today, and wanted to share.