Wednesday, July 19, 2017

~Blueberry Freezer Jam~

Blueberry Freezer Jam
July & Blueberries go hand in hand!  It's the month when I purchase the locally grown berries from Calabrese Farms in Southwick, MA & prep them for our freezer.  3 quarts are always saved to make Blueberry Freezer Jam the next day.  It's a tradition with me.  In my mom's kitchen we made the cooked jams, but years later I learned about the easy to prepare freezer jams.  That's my "go to" method!

Certo (liquid pectin), sugar & lemon juice are the other ingredients I use.  The complete directions are found in each box of Certo.  My 1 cup Ziploc freezer containers are located & my kitchen becomes a jam kitchen.  

A certain amount of blueberries are crushed & added to sugar.  They are stirred & the process begins.  It's always handy to have all the ingredients, utensils & containers/ lids ready to use.  Time just flies by after you set the timer. 

On Monday evening 3 batches of Blueberry Freezer Jam were sitting on our dining room table for the 24 hour time period.     

***Always prepare only 1 batch at a time. 

24 hours after the lids are placed on the top (& labelled/ dated) the jams are frozen.

My additional hints for freezer jams.

Do you prepare Freezer Jams?   So delicious!

We'll enjoy it all year!
Yummy!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tomato & Grilled Zucchini Salad

Tomato & Grilled Zucchini Salad

When preparing dinner I usually take out my iPad, place it on my kitchen counter & cook- using recipes on my blog or others I've saved.  There are countless yummy foods that I've posted that we like.  The ingredients are usually on hand, too.          

Now, it's the time of year to BBQ!  Zucchini is a veggie that we like sauteed, but during the warmer months it finds a place on our grill whenever we're grilling dinner.  Oregano, Basil & Garlic Powder added to the Baking & Sauteing Olive Oil give that veggie great flavoring!  Usually 3 or 4 Zucchini are prepared.  They are so good! 

One of the Grilled Zucchini are not eaten at dinner.  It's saved for Tomato & Grilled Zucchini Salad the next day!  This cold salad is just yummy with a little Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzled on top!

Tomato & Grilled Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:
1- 2 Grilled Zucchini, cold (Directions for grilling) 
1 Large Tomato- cut into chunks
Feta Cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Directions: 
  1. Cut Grilled Zucchini into slices.
  2. Cut Tomato into chunks.
  3. Place into serving dishes.
  4. Sprinkle on Feta Cheese.
  5. Drizzle Balsamic Vinaigrette on top.
It's a delicious cold salad!

Enjoy!
Yummy!
        

Monday, July 3, 2017

"Statue of Liberty"

"Statue of Liberty"
by
Norman Rockwell
(Courtesy of Norman Rockwell Museum)




Last year I learned of a beautiful oil painting by Norman Rockwell when I attended a lecture given by Tom Daly from the Norman Rockwell Museum (in Stockbridge, MA.)  "The Statue of Liberty" is a different view of our beloved Lady Liberty. 

On July 6, 1946 this was the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.  The men of different backgrounds are all working together to repair her torch.     

The oil painting was once owned by the film director Steven Spielberg.  In 1994 he donated it to the official White House Collection.  One day last year while watching the national news on t.v., I saw this beautiful work on display in President Barack Obama's Oval Office.

What a beautiful painting!

Have a Safe &
Happy Fourth of July!!!  

Enjoy!



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

FREE FUN FRIDAYS- 2017

FREE FUN FRIDAYS
Image courtesy of
Highland Street Foundation

Summer is here!  It's the time of year when vacations & staycations will be/ are happening!  It's time for FREE FUN FRIDAYS!!!  Friday is the day of the week when families, neighbors & friends can visit specific very cool venues in my home state of Massachusetts- without paying a General Admission fee!  This takes place through the generosity of the Highland Street Foundation.

This summer the program began last Friday, June 23rd & will continue until Friday August 25.  Every week on Friday there are 8 or 9 specific museums/ cultural events open to anyone living in, visiting, or traveling through Massachusetts.  The places to visit are located throughout the state!  If this sounds interesting to you, check out the list!

List of dates & cool places to visit with Free General Admission!

This Friday, June 30, the Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA is on the list.  There are 5 individual museums on their grounds.  Yes, this is the location of the newly opened The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss!  

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
in Boston, MA is another wonderful place to visit this summer!  View & appreciate countless beautiful pieces of art. 


Another great destination that's located in Boston, MA is the Franklin Park Zoo.  There is so much to explore while walking outdoors!  

Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA is another favorite.  Step back into the early 19th century & learn how daily tasks were completed.  There are water powered mills & a working farm in this rural village.

Old Sturbridge Village

Younger children & their families will also enjoy The Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA.  It's located in an old apple orchard.


These are only a few of the great venues to visit this summer with Free General Admission!  FREE FUN FRIDAYS are a great opportunity to learn something new while having FuN! 

Thank you Highland Street Foundation!!!
We will enjoy!

        

Saturday, June 24, 2017

~Strawberry Freezer Jam~

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Part II of my Strawberry Season is making Strawberry Freezer Jam

Back in the day I would stand over my stove, stirring the pot of crushed fruit & sugar- feeling quite warm on a summer day.  Then, one day I looked at the recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam that was included in the Certo box's directions.  Certo is the liquid pectin that I always stirred (still do) into the fruit/ sugar mixture while making the cooked (now Freezer) jam. 

The 24 hour let it set, then freeze method looked really good, so I made a batch.  From that day on I always have made Freezer Jam! 

Hints to remember while making Freezer Jams:
  • Read the directions first & follow exactly!  
  • If you are making more than one batch, make only one batch at a time.
  • Use clean bowls & utensils.
  • Click here for more hints. 



We were missing the taste of this homemade jam.  There were no more containers of any flavor in our large freezer.  Somehow, the commercial jams, preserves, jellies just do not taste as good.

Woohoo!  It's strawberry season & my 3 batches are doing their thing on our dining room table!  Tomorrow they will be placed in our freezer!

We will Enjoy!
Yummy!
    

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fresh Local Strawberries

Local Fresh Strawberries
Today was the day!!!  Every year about the middle of June the local strawberries are ripe & ready for us to enjoy.  When visiting roadside stands or Farmer's Markets, quarts of these sweet yummy red berries are available to purchase.   It's been a tradition with me to purchase strawberries to prep for our large freezer & also to make Freezer Jam.  Oh, years ago the tradition was to go to the strawberry patch & pick the berries I needed.  Traditions change!  :)

This morning quarts of strawberries from Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow, MA found their way to my kitchen.  After cutting off the tops, the strawberries were double rinsed in cold water & drained.  Then, 2 and 1/2 cups of this fruit were placed in Ziploc Freezer Bags.  Some of the larger strawberries were sliced first.  I add about 1 Tablespoon of sugar to each bag before closing.  It works well to move the sugar crystals around in the bag, so it dissolves.  Label & date each bag. 

In the winter months a defrosted bag of this yummy fruit is such a treat to top a Belgian Waffle, Yummy Oatmeal Pancakes or ice cream.

Ready for the Freezer!
Strawberries are always a 2 day project with me.  Tomorrow, I'll be making Strawberry Freezer Jam.

Do you enjoy making jams when the local fruit is available in your area?

Enjoy!
Yummy!
   
  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Some Colors of May

Bright Pink Peonies!
Here are some of the beautiful colors of May!  We have been enjoying our flowering bushes this spring.  Now, the perennials are also bursting into color.

Lavender Chives!

These Chives always add a beautiful shade of lavender to our garden.

Bleeding Hearts
Years ago 4 small Bleeding Hearts were planted in our back garden.  Now, they've multiplied & found their spot around a large boulder.

Champagne Rhododendron
The white blossoms on the Champagne Rhododendron are dainty.

We are Enjoying Spring!