My first spin and award winning strawberry jam

Hello blogging world! How is your Thursday going? Mine, busy….it seems I am never ending busy lately but its all good busy! This morning I did my first spin class. This is my first class at my gym, I have been there four months, I was just a little frightened of the class. Who knows why, I just was. My original plan was to take a power/weight class first but for some reason couldn’t make myself do it.  So I decided to take a step back and try something a little familiar before jumping into the complete unknown.  I’ve seen the spin classes while I was jogging on the treadmill and I kinda of understood them…so it seemed like a good fit. And it was, I had a pretty good time, it took me awhile to get use to it. And the first time I stood up on the bike I was like oh this is gonna be rough but as I got into it was not so bad and was surprised when it was over. I was quite pleased with myself. Next time I’ll definitely have to up the volume if you know what I mean!  Needless to say I’m excited to take the class again and a power class.

Anyways onto strawberry jam! Oh strawberry jam!  The story behind the jam When I was about 3 we lived in California and had a small garden with lots and lots of strawberries. I use to go out and lay in the strawberries just eating as many as I wanted….oh the good old days

My Mom use to make strawberry jam and it take it farmer’s markets and festivals to sell….she always won first prize for the best jam..no joke!  She uses the sure jell recipe, no different…I use a little less sugar because I like a thinner jam.

I started making it about a year ago because my boys eat pb&j almost everyday and who wants all that sugar in them. Plus its kinda fun to share old traditions with them.  And seriously it is sooo easy and cheap!

Strawberry Jam

  • 1 box sure-jell low sugar or no sugar
  • 7 quarts of fresh strawberries makes about 6 cups of purred strawberries
  • 2-3 cups of sugar (follow directions on sure jell if you want thick jam)
  • 1 tbsp butter (real butter)
  • 7 8oz jars with new lids and seals
  • 2 big pots, a canning kit is extremely helpful, I don’t have a canning pot though
  1. Put your jars in a pot and fill with water….take your jars out and put water on to boil
  2. Take all the tops off your strawberries and put them in the other big pot
  3. Puree your strawberries, or mash with potato masher
  4. follow sure jell insturctions and add your sure jell, butter to strawberries, put it on the stove to boil
  5. Your water should be boiling, so carefully put your jars and lids in and sanitize for 12 minutes, then drain
  6. Once your strawberries are at a full boil add in your sugar–bring back to a boil and let boil for 1-2 minutes
  7. Immediately put your jam in the sanitized jar, leaving a little space….
  8. Take a hand towel and hold the jar, then put your lid on and screw as tight as you can.
  9. Put your full jars back in the boiling water for 10-12 minutes
  10. Take out, all your jars should pop and be sealed
  11. I have no idea how long these last, I would say awhile, mine is always gone pretty fast between us and sharing with friends and family
Overall it takes about an hour to make….which I think is worth it. The jam is soooo much better than anything I can get at the store…and since everything is reusable its really really cheap.
Anyways I’m off to finish my busy day! Wish me luck!
What fun things did you do with your Mom when you were little?  
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Garden Update

Note: I am a beginning gardener and by no means an expert. This is my fourth year growing in Atlanta, Georgia and I have slowly learned, by trial and error mostly, how to keep my plants alive and producing good fruit. I hope you enjoy my little garden and our escapades!

Let’s start with how the spring garden is doing.

Snap Peas….time to put a fence in the middle for them to grow up….I probably should of done this about a week ago I’ve been procrastinating

More peas and more peas….we are going to have lots of peas and snap peas this year…..as you can see I need to consider some drainage for next year

Broccoli….its growing slowly but surely….I hope it makes it, in the last couple of years it has died off right before the broccoli came in….I have been babying them like a mama hen.

Romaine…also moving slowly but surely…I can’t wait to see how it comes together!

Arugula….don’t they look beautiful! We have gotten a lot of rain this spring and the other plants I think have suffered a little because of it….but not the arugula it seems to love all the water!

Some random flower pictures….I love these bushes! Can you guess what it is called?

Onto the summer garden which is in prep mode

 

First we tilled this with some lime and organic compost (homemade).

Then it sat for about a month before I could get to it.

So I had to weed some but not too awful…..except for some added areas. Gardens seem to be the hardest to weed the first year, after that the ground seems to get use to being bare. If you get rid of the first layer of soil, I hear it helps but I have yet to try.

Then I raked all the weeds and rocks away….and tilled it up a little by hand.

then I measure out my areas and added in my wooden thingys (I have yet to name them since they are a new addition this year.  I’m excited to see how much they help especially with the weeding.  we already have a few frogs living under them in the spring garden which is great to keep down bugs) each bed has its own plant (yeah I’m lucky)! that big area is for tomatoes and basil!!!!

Today I will make some mounds for my cucumbers, squash, and melons….and plant all my baby plants.

Then I will put up the fence (we use a wire fence) and mulch around because for some reason we never weed whack and the grass around the fence can get really tall!

Then water, watch, and pull weeds. I spend about an hour a week in each garden after this pulling weeds and checking the plants and of course getting the beautiful produce!

Baby tomatoes and basil…this was after their first night out(side) they look a little worn out!

The first produce of the season….green onion I think….this and several more were randomly growing in the summer garden. I planted onions about two years ago and every year we get them. I also have chives all over the yard (I guess they are good at spreading) and the neighbors, oh yeah they love me, oooppss! I also have strawberries all over the yard which I planted one year….they only produce baby strawberries and the squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits eat them before I can get them….but I guess those are good at spreading as well.

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Workouts and such

Just had a great workout! I got in 3 miles in under 44 minutes! WOO for me!  I‘m ready to start running 3 x 1 its taken me awhile to get there I know….but we all have our own paces mine is slow and steady. I can do 30 seconds planks at night, NOT after a workout that just hurts!  I can bike 10 miles in 45 minutes with hills.  50 knee sit ups (I don’t know what they are called)  10 “real” pushups, 50 lunges in a day

I’m excited to say that my weights have increased 20 lbs at least per machine or barbell.  I know this may bulk me up but let’s just admit it I’m bulky and I like the fact that I can lift 50 lbs 18 times.

Still eating healthy and trying new healthy foods. I went two weeks without a hamburger or pizza or “bad” food, that is really good for me.  I normally eat some sort of sweet thing once a day, whether its  a yogurt, or a piece of brownie depends on the day but its normally pretty small.

I try not to think about my weight but when it won’t budge I know I need to do something.  And since I’ve been at 208 and the same if not higher measurements for two months now  I’m going to up the anty. So down to 1200/1400 calories a day for a week and see how I feel.  I normally eat between 1500-1800 so hopefully this will give my body the push it needs to get over the hump.  I’m also going to add an additional 20 minute cardio in the afternoon to see if that keeps my heart rate up some. Hopefully at the end of the week, I’ll be over the hump. I’m seriously going to be excited if I ever get under 200!

13-Jan 31-Jan 18-Feb 18-Mar 11-Apr
Bicep 13 12.5 12 12 12
Tricep 10 9 9.5 9 9
neck 13 14 13.5 13.5 13.5
bust 47 44.5 43 43.5 43
under bust 42 39 38 38 39
waist 43 41.5 41.5 41.5 41.5
hips 48 48 47 47 47.5
butt 46 46 45.5 45.5 45.5
thigh 26 24 22.5 22.5 23
calf 17 16.5 17 16 16.5
wrist 6 1/2 6.5 6.5 6.5
weight 220 214.5 213 208 208

My next goals are to

  1. Do yoga/pilates once a week
  2. Get 4 miles under 55 minutes
  3. 45 second planks OW
  4. 75 lunges in a day
  5. 100 knee sit ups
  6. 20 push ups
  7. make 2 vegetarian dinners a week
  8. go a whole month without fast food (going to be b/c family is coming in)

 

Coming up tomorrow Garden progress!!! YEAH!

How is your workout going? Any goals?

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Cuban Pork Dinner

There are three recipes in this one. The pork roast is great on its own in tacos, rices, roll ups, sandwiches, or any kind of dish, but it is especially good after it is made into cuban pork. so yummy!

Pork Roast

  • some sort of pork roast I used a 2.5 lb pork loin  b/c it was on sale
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tsp whole coriander or 1/2 tsp ground
  • 1 tsp thyme or 1/2 tsp ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp ground
  1. Put all your ingredients in pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours or in a crock pot on low for about 8 hours.
  2. Let it rest in pot for about an hour
  3. Serve!

Easy right? RIGHT!

Cuban Pork

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 lb cooked pork cubed
  • 2-3 tbsp cilantro chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • oil salt pepper
  1. Add your oil to a skillet and heat, add your onion for about 1 minute just to start it cooking
  2. Add pork and cilantro, cook for a few minutes or until brown
  3. Add lime juice, salt and pepper
  4. Serve on yellow rice with some peas, or in tacos, or wraps

Even easier!!

Yellow Rice

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of long grain rice
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/8 tsp annato powder (I couldn’t find this until later and just omitted it and it was still really good)
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp margarine or butter
  • juice of one lime
  • pepper to taste
  1. Throw all your ingredients except the lime and pepper in a pot with a lid and let boil for about 20-30 minutes
  2. Add your lime and pepper to taste and serve

Ok this is like the easy, tastiest rice ever!

Enjoy this delicious dinner! I know it will be reliving many times in this house!

Off to relax during nap time and then maybe A taste of Forsyth!

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YAY’s and BOO’s of the day

Today is a crazy day so I am keeping it short!

Went to target to get a new shower curtain for our newly painted bathroom YAY! None that I wanted BOO!

Went to the gym to take a kick class YAY! Got there too late BOO!

Ran/walked 3 miles in under 40 minutes a new record for me! YAY! Can’t really think of a BOO for that!

Going to farmer’s market with two great friends and no kids YAY! Only have two and half hours to get there and back BOO! Did I mention no kids, YAY again for that!

It’s gorgeous outside YAY! meaning more bees and we need to cut our grass BOO! but it also means my crops are growing lots and lots YAY!

Going to make a beautiful grilled cheese sandwich with homegrown basil, provolone, proscuitto, and a fried egg for dinner YAY! Only have enough for two so no leftovers BOO!

Excited about sharing my version of cuban pork with you all YAY! But I don’t have enough time today BOO!  hopefully tomorrow

What do you have to say yay and boo about today?

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Mandisa’s Stronger

I saw these video, this morning and it was so inspiring that I had to share it with everyone! It’s amazing what we can do when we rely on God, even weight loss! Sometimes we lose that focus that God is helping us through our problems especially with weight loss because we think it is not important enough.  But God is there helping you through, you just have to look for His help and guidance!

Mandisa- Stronger

I remember a time when God was not in my life when I thought Britney Spears Stronger was so inspiring! This is sooooo much better because in truth I can never be strong. It is God that is stronger not me!

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10 foodie questions

I saw this on a few blogs this morning and it sounded like fun.

 

1. What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then tried and liked? Indian food, for some reason I always thought it would be gross but it is totally awesome

2. Do you subscribe to any foodie publications? If so, which ones? Bon Appetite, Cooking Light

3. What ingredient do you find yourself reaching for the most when you cook? Salt and Pepper, onions, my garlic oil and coriander (I love this spice)

4. Are there any foods that you hated as a child, but then learned to like as an adult? Beets, doesn’t every child hate beets….I love pickled beets now.  Eggplant, it has taken me years to love eggplant!

5. What do you like to eat that others may consider weird? Potato chips and baked beans are perfect harmony together and I don’t care who thinks it is weird.

6. What is the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with? I once bought this weird squash looking thing at a farmer’s market…I don’t remember the name but oh it was gross.

7. Do you have any major food allergies? Sadly no, I wish I had any allergy to chocolate though!

8. Is there an ingredient that you would like to cook with, but are intimidated to try? Lobster, something about killing it while cooking it. And fresh fish, you have to take the eye out….I have a thing about eyes! Cow tongue as well, something about it is gross! And mousse I have yet to make a mousse because it always seems so time consuming, gotta get on that!

9. Do you bake? I bake bread, and one dessert a week…..but I mostly bake chicken and fish does that count?

10. If you could go on any “foodie” show to compete, which one would it be, and why? TV? Who has time to watch tv? I guess Hell’s Kitchen Ramsay makes me laugh!

 

So now it is your turn…what’s the weirdest ingredients you have ever cooked with?

 

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