Monday, June 15, 2015

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I have been wanting to make jam for many years but living in the city where there are no farms and no a lot of space in your freezer has kept me from doing it. Well this year we moved to Washington and finally have the access to many farms and plenty of freezer space. 

I grew up eating my grandma's strawberry jam. My sister told me that she follows the recipe on the box but my other grandma did it a little different because her's was a little runny but we never go to figure out just how she did it. Well I bought the Sure Jell box at the grocery store and compared it to a recipe I found on Betty Crocker's site.  I think I came up with just how she did it. I didn't follow recipe perfectly but quite close. 

I picked and bought 1/2 a flat of strawberries. That allowed me to make 11 small containers and 1 small container of strawberry sauce for ice cream. I think that means it officially cost. $1.20 per container of organic strawberry jam.  Not bad but I have to say I didn't do it to save money. I did it because I knew it would be fun and taste amazing. Well that is if it turned out as good as my grandma's. I think they both would be very proud of me. 


4 cups strawberries
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 package of fruit pectin (I used sure jell)
juice of !/2 lemon (I would only use if your berries are super sweet like mine)


Cut stems of strawberries and put all of them in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until you get consistency you like. Add 4 cups of sugar and stir. Let sit for 10 minutes and stir occasionally. 

Mix pectin and water in a medium size pan and heat until boiling and boil for 1 minute stir constantly. Then add berries to the pan and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly and turn off heat. Stir for another 2 minutes. Once sugar has dissolved it is done. 

Spoon mixture into containers and leave 1/2 inch space for the lid. Let sit for 24 hours at room temperature. Store in freezer up to 6 months or in refrigerator for 3 weeks. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Restaurant Salsa 2

I made The Pioneer woman's salsa over a year ago and wasn't very happy with it. I felt it was bland and couldn't figure out what went wrong. I recently watched her make it again and decided to try it one more time. This time I read the reviews and cut the tomato part in half and add a little more onion, salt, and cumin. It turned out great. Definitely making it again. 

click on the link above if you would like to see her recipe. She is great and love testing out her recipes. Try this one and let me know what you think. 


1 can (10 ounce) diced tomatoes with green chili's
1 can (14 ounce) can of whole tomatoes (drain the juice)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 jalapeno (seeded) unless it's small then add whole
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar


Add onion, garlic and jalapeno to food processor, pulse just a couple times. Then add both cans, cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, lime and sugar. Pulse until you get desired texture. Taste and then let sit for a few hours or overnight. It gets better with age. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

One pot Burrito bowl

I was on pinterest and found this yummy recipe from a blog called I heart nap time. I love burrito bowls at Chipolte so I thought I should check it out. The photo was amazing and all the ingredients looked great together. I didn't realize how much it would make but for big eaters this is perfect. I sent some of the leftovers to my neighbors and they replied back very happy with it. 

My mom just loved it and has been using the it in a burrito for that last couple days. I'm adding it to my blog because everyday she keeps reminding me how great it is. Definitely going to have to make this again. Hopefully the next time I will have a better photo to add to this post. 


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup chunky salsa
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans rinsed
1 cup frozen corn thawed
1 (4 ounce) can of green chilis
1 (15 ounce) can of chopped tomatoes
1 cup Jasmin rice or if you use long grain add about 10 minutes on cooking time.
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese or cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

additional toppings: chopped scallions, cilantro and sour cream and salsa.


In a large pan heat oil and saute onions and peppers for about a minute. Add ground meat and brown. Once cooked through add salsa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilis, taco seasoning, chili powder, and rice.

Pour in chicken broth and bring to light bowl. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until rice cooked. Add cheese and cover for 2-5 minutes until cheese is melted. You can add additional topping if desired.

Serve as is or over romain.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Iced Coffee

I Love Iced Vanilla Lattes from Starbucks but at $4 a pop it starts to hurt your bank account. My sister told me to try Iced coffee with white chocolate and half and half to save money. I was so happy to discover it and it was saving me about a $1.50. However, it was still to much to have on a regular basis. I then thought to myself I'm sure I could make it myself and save a ton of money. 

All the recipes were how to make a huge amount of ice coffee and I was afraid it would suck. So I just put it off and decided to cut back. Well after posting it on my facebook page I decided it's time to give it a try. I followed The pioneer woman's recipe because someone told me it was great and she gave a great description. 

I cut her recipe in half because I was worried I wouldn't like it. Plus I don't drink it everyday so better to make less. I was very pleased with how it turned out. I decided to add Vanilla creamer because I love the flavor of an iced latte and it helped give it a sweet flavor. It is time consuming because it has to sit for such a long time and then straining it takes awhile also but I have to say well worth it in the end because after I added the cost of coffee, milk, and creamer, I figure I am spending about $.70 per cup. Both my mom and son gave it rave reviews and they too love Ice Vanilla Lattes from Starbucks. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


1/2 pound (8 oz) bold ground coffee
4 quarts of cold water
fine mesh strainer
cheese cloth or coffee filter
big container
Vanilla creamer


Fill large container with four quarts of water and coffee grounds and stir slowly to combine. Let Grounds sit in water for 8 hours to 24 hours. Then slowly pour water through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth or coffee filter. Pour the coffee into a pitcher and store in refrigerator.

Fill glass with ice add coffee about half way and then pour milk and a little flavored creamer to give it sweetness. It takes a few times to figure out just how you like it.

Let sit for 8-24 hours

Strain slowly

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lemon Cake

I bought a huge bag of lemons from Costco and wanted to use them up. My sister was coming over for dinner so I searched for a lemon pound cake and found this recipe on Tasty kitchen. I read the reviews and decided I needed to try it. I was very impressed with how light and fluffy and the flavor was just wonderful. I wouldn't say it was pound cake but a great lemon cake. The pound cake I am used to is much more dense. If you have a party to go to or want an easy desert to make that is very tasty and impressive then give this a try.

I only changed the the box mix but pretty much everything else was the same. Let me know what you think.


1 box of Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 package Lemon jello pudding mix
3/4 cups water
1/3 fresh lemon juice
1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs

For icing

1/4 cups butter softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 whole lemon zest
3 Tablespoon Lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Add all cake ingredients into mixing bowl and mix well on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let stand for 10 minutes and then turn out on to plate. Profusely perforate the top of the cake with a toothpick.

Mix softened butter with powder sugar, zest and lemon juice. Mix well and add milk until you get consistency of batter.

Ice cake while warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make sure to not over bake

Perfect color. Now to poke with tooth picks so that the icing will seep in.

Easy to slice and you can see how moist

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pear Drop Martini

My husband and I went on a date to Bonefish grill and tried these Pear drop martinis. I was a little leery because I hate paying $9 for a drink that is awful. When I find a place that makes a good cocktail I shout it out to everyone I know because I know how hard it can be to find. Well this drink was so fantastic that I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was now on a mission to make my own and the bartender told me what he put in it but I still need to know just how much of each ingredient. My first attempt was to sour but the second attempt was amaze balls and even my sister and mom said it was just right. They tell me the honest truth and are as picky as me so I know now I have a winner and is why it is now up on my blog. 

The pear vodka was not easy to find and as far as I know only Absolut makes it. If you find another brand please let me know.

Try it and let me know what you think. 


1 part Absolut Pear vodka
3/4 part fresh lemon juice
1/2 part Triple sec
1/2 part simple syrup
1/4 of fresh pear (optional)
lemon for rim
sugar for rim
1/2 cup ice


Chill glass in freezer. 

In a shaker add ice and piece of pear and muddle. If you don't have pear no worries it is just as good without it. The pear is great because it makes it just a bit more creamy. Add all other ingredients and a little more ice and shake well. Rim the glass with lemon and sugar. pour into glass and serve. 

Serves one but you can double to make two at a time. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trader Joes Favorites

I remember walking into Trader Joes for the first time and not knowing what to buy and leaving with 3 items not sure if I was going to like it. Now I walk in there and am afraid I'm going forget something or miss out on a new fun item. However it has taken time for me to find just what I love. Yes I have bought some stuff that was average and even bad. 

I'm writing this post to help those who have never tried them or is looking for some great items to add to their pantry. I can't tell you how many times I have seen friends on Facebook share their favorite items and that is how I have learned about many of them. I hope this post helps you find some new favorites also. 

The coconut cream above is a new favorite I found and now use it in my Panang Curry recipe. It is super thick and a little sweet. It makes for a great sauce and now I keep a can in my pantry at all times. I have tried many coconut milks and none of them have been this good. 

These rice crackers are the best out there. I have tried many and none compare to these. I love the taste of sesame and they are also perfectly salty and crunchy. Some rice crackers are too bland and make me feel like I'm going to break my tooth. Not these. These are the best and another staple in my pantry. A bonus is that everyone in my family loves them. 

These are a great freezer find. It has cauliflower, carrots, peas and corn. They are easy to prepare and have butter and herbs in them. They are super fresh and great in a pinch. 

These veggie sticks are the best. We have tried many and the kids usually wont eat any others. these are perfectly crunchy and salty. The only problem is they don't last long so I usually buy two bags. 

I've never liked pasta prepared in the freezer section but I decided to give this a try and now there is a bag in my freezer at all times. It makes a delicious sauce and barely feeds two but because it makes a lot of sauce I always add more cooked penne and easily feeds four with a salad on the side. 

I was at Trader Joe's and they happen to be sampling this cornbread. I instantly fell in love and this is now a must have in my pantry at all times. I have tried many mixes but this doesn't even taste like a mix. 

It is also the best place to buy nuts, hummus, pesto, and olive tapanade. You can always get a good deal on fruit and vegetables. I'm not a big fan of their bread but for the most part they have many favorites and sometimes they are cheaper than most stores. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have some items I should try.