Friday, July 22, 2016

Blueberries & Freezer Jam

Local Blueberry Season is here!
B-l-u-e-b-e-r-r-i-e-s!  Oh, yum!  It's the time of year when the local blue sweet pieces of fruit are ripe!  T'was a week of blueberries for me.

Our winter supply is now packed away in the freezer. 

Definitely Blueberry Freezer Jam was on my agenda, too.  On Wednesday afternoon 2 batches were prepared, separately.  The fresh Blueberries double rinsed under cool running water & drained, Certo, Sugar &  Lemon Juice were placed on my counter- ready to use.  The Ziploc Freezer Containers were washed & dried.  It was time to make the yummy homemade jam!  The directions are found inside each box of Certo.   Before I knew it, the containers were filled & the top was popped in place. 

Then, each container was labelled/ dated including the time it was placed in the plastic Ziploc Freezer Container.  The 2 batches of Blueberry Freezer Jam sat on our dining room table making themselves for the 24 hour wait period.  After 24 hours, into the freezer each container was placed.

If you are interested in Blueberry Freezer Jam, click here for my Helpful Hints!  Homemade Jams & Jellies taste so much better than the commercial brands!

Do you prep/ freeze local fresh Blueberries to use the remainder of the year?


Friday, July 15, 2016

Chicken Salad Platter

Chicken Salad Platter
Chunks of Grilled Chicken, juicy Nectarines & creamy Avocado resting on a bed of shredded lettuce!  Add a few whole Pecans, some shredded Red Cabbage & Carrots with Feta Cheese resting on top.  Now that is colorful!  Now that is so nutritious & yummy, too!

Then Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzled on top.  This is definitely my kind of Salad Platter for dinner.  It's been HHH lately, so after enjoying Grilled Chicken, Grilled Zucchini & a microwaved "Baked Potato" one night at dinner, a cold Chicken Salad Platter the next evening is oh so good!

The OXO salad dressing shaker is filled with:

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil for salads
  • 2 teaspoons Raspberry Jam or Jelly
Then, shake, shake, shake & shake that container again!
Repeat & repeat again until the Jam/ Jelly is dissolved.

If I had cold Grilled Zucchini left, I'd add it to the Salad platter, too! This is a great refreshing nutritious dinner on an HHH night!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

3rd Generation Marigolds

Marigold Blossoms!
Saving seeds from Marigold & Zinnia plants is always a FuN thing for me.  Two years ago when my 2 cute little grandsons gave me a beautiful flowering Marigold plant, I KNEW I'd be saving the seeds that Fall.  It would be the plant that kept on growing!

Saved Dried Marigold Seeds
(File Photo)
The saved seeds were planted last spring & guess what?  My new little plants grew & I saved seeds again in the Fall.  This spring the seeds sprouted in a planter & I've been patiently w- a- i- t- i- n- g  for the little plants to g- r- o- w.  Watering, sunshine & patience comes in handy here.  Today the first blossom started to open!
Woohoo!  What cute little plants!

Do you save seeds from annuals to plant the following spring?

I'll be Enjoying these special plants all summer into autumn!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fourth of July

Have a 
Safe & a Happy
4th of July!!!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Strawberry Freezer Jam is a great treat to find in the freezer during the year!  Making jams in the summer was a tradition I grew up with & have kept.  My sister & I would help our mom make jams & jellies during the heat of the summer.  That was when air conditioning was not a comfort option.  We were a one car family with my dad driving the car to work every day.  These days central air is so comfy on a hot summer day & 2 cars work great!   

June is always the month when I purchase the quarts of locally grown strawberries from Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow.  They are cleaned & prepped for our freezer.  Three quarts are saved to make three batches of Strawberry Freezer Jam.

In the spring I purchase the 1 cup plastic freezer containers, Certo liquid pectin & needed amounts of sugar (when bags of sugar are on sale).  Lemon Juice is always in my fridge.  When Strawberry season arrives here in the Pioneer Valley, it's time to get busy!

Three batches are prepared, but each batch is prepared separately.  The directions are found in each box of Certo for freezer & cooked jams & jellies.  It's always a good idea to read the directions before starting.

One thing to keep in mind is to:  Follow Directions Exactly.

Click here for my hints for making yummy Freezer Jams.

Before I know it, it will be Blueberry Season.  :)


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Baked Taco Pie

Baked Taco Pie
 with Fat Free Sour Cream on Top
Scrolling through my Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago I spied an interesting recipe from Kraft Foods.  The foodie photo looked so good!  Scanning the ingredients I discovered we like each one!  It looked easy to prepare.  Even the name had the word easy in it!  Easy is good!  It didn't take long to decide this entree would be in our oven later in the week.  It was a Baked Taco Pie!

Tortillas & the filling mixture are layered before baking.  The best casserole baking dish I have to use here was my smaller square rose colored Pyrex baking dish.  That worked great!      

These days I'm substituting Ground Turkey for Ground Beef whenever possible in recipes.  Ohhh, cholesterol has a background with my family.  Genes play a role & choices also play a role! 

So, I've changed the original recipe a bit & we totally liked it!  Yes, servings remained after dinner & they seasoned very well for 2 days when we enjoyed this entree again for dinner.  Tortillas are layered here, so it is filling.  Try it, you'll like it!

Baked Taco Pie
          inspired by Kraft  Foods

Oven Temperature:  375°F        Time:  25- 30 Minutes

1 lb. Ground Turkey
1 Tablespoon Chopped Onion (dehydrated)
1 teaspoon Chili Powder (more if desired)
Sprinkle of Dried Basil & Sprinkle of Dried Oregano
1 can (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 pkg. (10 ounce) Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Corn, Carrots, Peas, Green Beans), thawed & defrosted
(5) 6 inch Tortillas
1 Cup Low Fat Shredded Cheese
Low Fat Sour Cream

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Brown Ground Turkey in skillet, drain any fat.
  3. Add Chopped Onions, Chili Powder, Dried Basil & Oregano to skillet, stir.
  4. Add drained Diced Tomatoes & Corn Mixed Veggies, stir.
  5. Cook for 5 Minutes.
  6.  Spray casserole baking dish with PAM.
  7. Place 1 Tortilla on bottom. 
  8. Place 1/3 of filling mixture on top, spreading evenly.
  9. Then, place 2 Tortillas on filling mixture.
  10. Layer another 1/3 mixture on, topping with 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese.
  11. Place 2 Tortillas on top, then filling & sprinkle on Shredded Cheese.
  12. Bake 25- 30 Minutes in 375°F oven.
  13. Cut & serve with Low Fat Sour Cream.
Tomorrow we will be enjoying a Chicken dish in my Slow Cooker!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

~A Special Sunday~

***To All Dads***

Happy Father's Day!!!

Enjoy Your Special Day!!!