Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jammin' Time! Blackberry Jam!

This is the time of year when berries are at their fullest, so what better time to make some jam?  My two favorites are Blackberry and Strawberry, so that is what I made.  I was inspired by our grocery store believe it or not!  The blackberries were SO beautiful, I bought two packs of them to make the jam. We don't have any u-pick places or blackberry bushes, so that was the way to go!  These will make great gifts when Christmas comes around!
The recipe I used was from CDKitchens.  I didn't have a canner, so I used the biggest pot I had to boil and process the jars, which was my Pasta Pan...and it worked!  I boiled my jars in it for 10 minutes, and simmered the bands and lids in another pan for around 10 minutes.
I used these half-pint jelly jars with the pretty silver lids and bands.

I tried to strain out the seeds, but that didn't quite work.  Oh well, I will try a larger strainer next time!

Blackberry Jam

3 cups crushed blackberries
1/2 package powdered pectin
4 1/4 cups sugar

Put measured crushed berries in a pot. Add pectin and stir well. Place on high heat and stir constantly bringing quickly to a full boil with bubbles over the entire surface. Add sugar, continue stirring and heat again to a full bubbling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim. Fill and seal containers. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath.

Note: I have scaled this recipe to serve/make 6 half pints, so this is a half recipe and I ended up getting 5 half-pint jars of jam (originally serves/makes 12 half pints). Please adjust for pan sizes, cooking times, measurements in the directions, and divided ingredients accordingly.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Blackberry Jam serves/makes 6 half pints

Here are some fun links to visit, to see what others are doing!
Today's Creative Blog
New Nostalgia
Hope Studios
The Girl Creative

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vegan Microwave Popcorn in a bag!

A Dairy-Free microwave popcorn recipe that is easy, inexpensive, and quick!

1/4 cup of popcorn kernals
1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all in a large size brown paper bag.  Microwave on high for around 2 minutes, or until 5 seconds lapses between pops.  I just used the POPCORN button on my microwave.
Be careful opening the bag, with all of the steam excaping

Here is a picture of my helper!
Eat and enjoy!!
For those of us who can enjoy butter, feel free to use melted butter or spray butter before adding grated parmesan cheese or extra salt!

Please check out these sites to get some other yummy ideas:

Today's Creative Blog
Tatertots and Jello
The Girl Creative
Hope Studios
Sugar Bee Craft Edition
Someday Crafts

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ozzie our Dog says, "Mama"!

A Happy Father's Day

This funny picture just about sums it up!  Dad wore his "PADRES" (padre, get it??) shirt to the Marlins vs. Rays game in Miami and got to check off the Miami Sun Life stadium off of his list, of the Major League Baseball fields he has to visit.  His goal is to go to every major league park in the US.  I believe now he has only 13 to go!  He and the kids went on Saturday night, while I went to work.  This picture describes what they thought of the giant kazoo's they passed out at the game.  NOT SO MUCH!  They said they were REALLY annoying!  But Little Man seemed to LOVE them!! They called them Vuvuzelas!

After I worked Sunday morning, the guys got to relax by watching baseball, golf and World Cup Soccer.  Then we grilled bratwursts and had them with peppers and onions, grilled fresh corn on the cob and also grilled freshly caught SHARK which the College Boy caught the night before on a shark fishing trip! Mix all of that with some great gifts from all of us, and I'll say it was a great Father's Day! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Treasures from the Sea

Today was a nice morning to take a walk along the beach.  I love looking for unique seashells and sea glass.  You never know what you will find!  I started reminiscing about other beaches I have been to in Florida over the past many years, and the most memorable are connected to what kind of treasures I found on the beach, washed ashore amongst the waves, just for me to find.  St. Augustine I remember friends surfing, shopping and historical landmarks.  We used to get some shells there called Angel Wings.  I never find those anymore along the beach.  They were pretty, white, and shaped just like an angel's wing.  In Jacksonville, I found a PERFECT sea urchin without a chip in it.  I kept it for a very long time in my room, until one day it sadly broke.  Crescent beach we used to drive on, and we'd find these LONG skinny shells that we would attach to our fingers and pretend we had five inch long fingernails!  In early spring I also remember the jelly fish, washed ashore.  Once I got stung by one while swimming in St. Petersburg beach.  Let's just say I have never been back!  Pensacola we had white, sandy beaches. On Sarasota beach we found perfectly whole sanddollars. On Sanibel island we would find starfish.  In Cedar key we found seahorses.  Cocoa Beach we find mother of pearl, abalone and scallops.  Boca Raton we'd find cocquino shells and Satellite Beach I love to find my treasured Sea Glass.  Of course we would find so much more than this, but this is how I associate my beaches -- with the type of sand it has, the surfing, and the shells you find!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Twilight Moms

I was hacked by the college boy!!  He thinks this is so funny...!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend and a Macaroni Salad Recipe

This weekend, we had a FUN 3 day weekend since NASA was closed for Memorial Day.  On Saturday, I took Ryan to the zoo.  We always have a great time there, and this time they have the new Butterflies exhibit open until later next month!  We always see the big Python, the Cheetahs, the Rhino and try to feed the giraffes if they are in.  This time the giraffes were no where to be seen.  Little Man LOVES to play on the big two story fort in the Paws-On area, but that didn't open until 10:00 so we decided to feed the birds in the Aviary, see the bats, and then see the butterflies. 

This time Ryan had a fun cockatiel that landed on his shoulder and ate his stick, but then I think it nipped at his finger, and that was the end of that.  The nectar he fed the other birds lasted about 10 seconds and it was gone.  By the time I was done paying and going to see where he went, he said his food was gone.  So the next stop was the butterflies. 

We got to see one whole butterfly emerge from his cocoon, which was cool.  They come out quick once they decide to come out!

I love this picture of the butterflies we saw up close. 

The lady working there was trying to tell Ryan NOT to touch their wings, because the scales would come off and it would make it difficult for them to fly.  But to a 5 year old, all he wanted to do was try to catch one.  Oh well...he tried!  

After there, we went to the paws on area and he had fun with a boy he met named Jerry.  So funny to see kids make fast friends!  He went into the vetinarian area where they can put on coats and pretend to treat sick and injured animals.  I think this picture is so funny - look how he put the stethescope on his head!  I'm not sure if he will make it as a doctor...  lol

Then I took him to the water area where he could cool off.  We were so hot, when we got home, we both went for a swim!  Whew!  Love having a pool during hot days like this.  I think it is in the 90's now, or upper 80's.

On Sunday, we went shopping and took advantage of some Memorial Day weekend specials!  Alivia wanted a new swimsuit...Oh. My. Gosh.  You must have PATIENCE when taking a 12 year old bathing suit shopping!  What a challenge to find the right top to go with the right bottoms!

She ended up with a two piece that had a printed top and a solid bottom that she mixed around.  It did look cute!  Then I said I was going into Ann Taylor Loft, where everything in the store was 40% off, then when you spent over $100, you got a $25 off coupon to use the next week!  WooHoo!  I did a little damage in there, picking up this cute top and a few others:

Monday Alivia had her Swim Team practice.  They meet through all holidays, but luckily her session was only from 9-10, so afterwards we met up with Rick and the other kids out on the beach.  They said there was parking (Tables beach area) available but by the time we got there, the parking lot was full and people were parking on the grass.  We were there with the Hendricksens and the Loa's, and saw MANY MANY locals there as well!  Fun, fun!!  I brought some chicken, chips and grapes to eat for lunch. 

The water was choppy and there were a lot of surfers out. We came back home around 1:30, went for a swim, and had an old fashioned Memorial Day Bar-b-que! We had hamburgers, I made my broccoli slaw and macaroni salad, then our friends next door brought over hotdogs, potato salad and chips.  Rick made some refreshing frozen margaritas and the kids swam...and all was well with the world.  It is so nice to enjoy a nice relaxing 3 day weekend!

My friend Jennifer over at Hope Studios posted this macaroni salad and I made it yesterday for the barbecue.  It does have a taste like devilled eggs.  With horseradish and hot sauce in the recipe, I knew the Rocket Scientist would love to eat it!  A different recipe from the sweeter kind my mom used to make, but it was good!  College boy loved it because there was no milk in it, and the Rocket Scientist said it was good but he would have liked more hot sauce!

Here it is from Jennifer's site:

Juniper's Macaroni Salad


1 lb box macaroni (any shape is fine)
1 dozen eggs, hard boiled and shelled (I used 8)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 1/2 cups Hellmann's mayonnaise (I used low fat Hellmann's)
1 T. yellow mustard
1 T. horseradish (secret ingredient!)
1 t. celery seed
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 t. Frank's Red Hot Sauce (secret ingredient!)

Cook macaroni according to directions, drain and let cool. Meanwhile, mix mayo, mustard, celery seed, horseradish, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Cut eggs in half and reserve yolks in a separate bowl. Cut the whites into large chunks and add to the macaroni along with celery and onion. Mash yolks and add to the mayonnaise mixture.You get a nice, rich dressing that is reminiscent of deviled eggs. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and sprinkle with paprika. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may like yours wetter and you can add more mayo at this point.