Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Plum Jam

This is a favorite!...

My son Devin and I had a great time making this jam!...  He had the hardest job (according to him) which was de-pitting the Japanese plums.  I'll have to admit it was a long teedius job but he seemed to enjoy it!  His secret method was to squeeze out the pit! lol.. We didn't end up with too much on the floor, counters, chairs, clothes, etc. :)

  • 4 1/2 cups pitted, chopped plums
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter (optional)
  • 1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
  • 8 half-pint canning jars with lids and rings


  1. Place the plums and water into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar, and add butter to reduce foaming, if needed. Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly, and then mix in the pectin quickly. Return the jam to a full boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off and discard any foam.
  2. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the plum jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/8 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
  3. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area. Refrigerate opened jars for up to 3 weeks.
Devin de-pitting the plums...

We got 8 cups of fruit w/peels & a few pits...

Pushing fruit through a strainer...

Lots of sugar...
Sqeezing in a little lemon juice...

Setting up sterilized jars...

Boiling the jam...

Sooooo Yummmmy!..  We ended up with 8 jars this year! 
My additions were the lemon juice ( a squeeze), 2 cinnamon sticks (while simmering), and I added an extra box of the pectin... This was because last years jam was a little on the runny side, we wanted it a bit thicker this time. 
A key to getting the desired thickness is to make sure the jam reaches the full rolling boil twice, as the recipe states.  Just like when you are making candy this is a vital step to ensuring that it will set up properly!

We really love this jam!.. It's easy to make and I believe we have started a new family tradition..
Try this recipe... You wont be disappointed!
~ Traci

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summertime is Garden Time...

With the economy as it is
 were spending more time
at home these days...
It's given me more time to dabble in the garden and  
although my seeds didn't survive the heat/drought! lol
(that's on me for lack of watering) 
the trees are doing pretty well with the exception of the avacado. 

Pappy gave us a peach tree...
This is the second year but we got a nice little harvest!..

The persimmons are growing but wont be ready until Fall..
I can't wait to bake persimmon breads and cookies!

Japanese Plums
These little plums made the best jelly!

I'm proud of my first attempt at jelly but 
I'm sure next time will be even better; I now know to add two boxes of
the pectin!

Avacado Tree
I don't know why but my poor little avacados only grew to
about 2" and then they started to turn black, died and fell off... (below)

Very disappointing... I wanted avacados! :(

Lemon Tree
I keep cutting back the lemon tree because it's
very thorny..
Trying to keep it a nice shrub size since it's next to a walkway. 
I am confused as to why these ripen in the fall because
I'd love to have them for lemonade now!

Tomatoes & Squash
These were given to us from a friend who has
a huge summer garden garden...   
There's nothing like the taste of home grown fruits and veggies... 

Well if anyone has any tips for starting a garden I'd love to hear them;
I'd also like to know what you think about my avacado tree losing all the fruit!
Feel free to leave a comment! 
God Bless!..  :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Old Fashioned Gingerbread
Recipe of Allrecipes.com - Modified
The house smelled heavenly while this was baking...

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Greased and flour one 9 inch square pan. Cream together the sugar and butter or margarine. Add egg, and beat well. Mix in the molasses.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; add the hot water, and mix well.
Pour batter into pan and bake 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan and serve.
This Recipe is A Keeper!..

Monday, October 12, 2009

Easy Garlic-Lemon Scallops
"Scallops sauteed in butter and garlic will melt in your mouth.
Lemon juice gives it a nice kick."

3/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pounds large sea scallops
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, and cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Add scallops, and cook for several minutes on one side, then turn over, and continue cooking until firm and opaque.
Remove scallops to a platter, then whisk salt, pepper, and lemon juice into butter. Pour sauce over scallops to serve.

Serves 5
Mmmm... This recipe is awesome!..

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Recipe of Libby's
These are great for an afterschool snack with a big glass of milk!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup
LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.
For Glaze: Combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.
NOTES:For a variation add 1/2 cup chocolate chips or nuts to the recipe.

Serves 36
This Recipe Is A Keeper!..

Monday, October 5, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Recipe of All Natural Almond Accents
Although this recipe is best during summer months,
I was craving this delicious salad with it's crunchy sweet almonds;
add cooked chicken to make this a meal...
1/2 cup white sugar
2 T sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 T poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 bunches fresh spinach - washed, chopped and dried
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup Almond Accents (any variety)
cooked chicken breast, sliced (optional)

Whisk together the sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, poppy seeds, dried onion, paprika, oil and vinegar. Refrigerate until chilled or at least 30 minutes.

In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, Almond Accents and cooked chicken (optional). Drizzle with dressing, toss lightly and serve.
Servings 4
This recipe Is A Keeper!...
~ I mixed in Romaine with the spinach leaf for more texture ~

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chicken Fried Steak w/ Pan-Syle Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak w/Pan-Style Gravy
Recipe of Sarah Shoemaker
I decided to share a family recipe this week; this is my favorite
comfort food. The gravy tastes wonderful on mashed potatoes as well...
4 cube steaks - about 6 oz. each
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of each: salt, pepper, paprika
1 cup of cooking oil or about 1 1/4 inch deep in a large skillet
1 1/4 cup milk
2 T flour
1/2 tsp. of each: salt, pepper, paprika, rubbed sage
Combine flour, 1 tsp. salt, pepper & paprika until well blended in a medium sized bowl. Dredge each piece of steak one at a time into the flour mixture; be sure to work flour into all the cuts on the meat.
Heat oil to very hot, about 375 degrees. Using tongs place two pieces of steak into the oil and fry for 2-3 mintues or nicely browned on each side.
Transfer steaks to a warm plate, cover to keep warm.
Pour off all but 2T of the cooking oil. Return pan to medium-low heat. Whisk in 2T of flour and let cook for a minute; slowly pour in milk whisking constantly and continue to whisk until gravy is thickened, about 3 mintues. Add remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, paprika, and rubbed sage. Whisk until well blended. Serve over steaks.
Serves 4
Mmmm... This Recipe is Awesome!...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
This recipe is from "Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, "
by David Joachim
Chocolate yes, but with the zucchini I was skeptical!...
Turned out very good! Shhh don't say a word about the zucchini
and the kids wont even know!..
1 1/2 Cups shredded zucchini
2/3 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup milk
1 Egg
2 T Oil
2 T honey
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground cloves
1 1/3 Cups flour
3/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Pat shredded zucchini dry with paper towels. In a bowl, combine sugar, milk, egg, oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Add the zucchini, milk mixture and the mini chips to the flour. Stir just until moistened (lumps are OK).

Scrape into loaf pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar on top.
***Note: This recipe also works for a dozen muffins --bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. For regular zucchini bread, omit the cocoa and mini chips.
Serves 16
This recipe Is a Keeper!...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
San Jose Mercury News, Food & Wine section
- Est:1990's
We love to order this soup at one of our favorite restaurants and
now I can make it at home! This soup was so easy because it uses canned ingredients that I always have in my pantry; you can double up the recipe when company comes...

2 1/2 Cups of diced cooked chicken
1 Can chili with beans
2 (14.5 ounces) Cans chicken broth
1 Cup salsa
1 Can corn, drained
1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 T chopped cilantro
8 Corn tortillas, sliced into strips
Shredded cheese

Place the chicken broth and salsa in a large pot; bring to a boil; reduce heat to a low simmer.
Stir in the chicken,chili, corn, black beans and cilantro, then allow to simmer until heated or about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat approx.2-3 T of cooking oil on med/high. Fry the tortilla a strips until golden brown 1/3 at a time; drain on paper towels.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips and shredded cheese.
Serves 4
This recipe Is a Keeper!...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

California Gourmet Garlic Loaf

California Gourmet Garlic Loaf
This delicious appetizer was a 1982 contest winner!
I've had this recipe for over ten years now and finally
tried it!.. It is so rich, cheesy and delicious
I thought I'd share it with everyone.
Hope you enjoy it!

1 (1 lb.) long loaf sweet French bread
1/2 Cups butter
6 Cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 T. sesame seeds
1 1/2 Cups sour cream
2 Cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. lemon pepper seasoning
2T. dried parsley flakes
1 14 oz. Can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 6-oz. Can pitted ripe olives
Tomato slices and parsley sprigs

Cut French bread in halves length-wise. Place halves on aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Tear out soft inner portion of bread in chunks, leaving crusts intact.
Melt butter in large skillet and stir in garlic and sesame seeds. Add bread chunks and fry until bread is golden and butter is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Combine sour cream, Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes and lemon pepper. Stir in artichoke hearts and toasted bread mixture; mix well.
Spoon into the bread crust and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile drain olives, the when bread is done, arrange the olives around the edges of bread and tomato slices down the center of each half loaf. Top the tomatoes with parsley springs.
Serves 8
This recipe Is a Keeper!.. :)
~ I think next time I'll add the olives and tomatoes during the last 7-8 minutes of baking! This is sooo delicious and rich! You will need a fork and knife to eat it! ~