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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Low Sugar Strawberry Jams

While I home can year round and have even taken to doing a bit of canning at our vacation home, this time of year through the end of September tends to be busier.  The canners (water bath, pressure) are going almost daily often several times in one day quickly putting up various fruits and vegetables as they are in season.  Unfortunately, I missed asparagus season.  There is still local asparagus available but the price is too high for preserving.  Strawberries just started.  We were on a road trip Saturday so I came home with a flat of local strawberries and fresh, free range eggs. 

low sugar strawberry jams
I made three batches of low sugar strawberry jam, all using Pomona's pectin (low methoxy pectin).  This pectin does not rely on sugar to gel so it is possible to use sugar substitutes like maple syrup, honey, stevia or agave.  If sugar is desired, it is used at a considerably reduced about usually 2 cups or less per batch in comparison to regular pectin that uses about 7 cups of sugar per batch.  The end result is the ability to create gourmet low sugar jams.  However, reduced sugar also means a smaller yield since sugar is a bulking agent as well.  This small price is well worth it for me. 

I also used a secret ingredient (non-alcoholic) to enhance the flavour of the jam.  I am pleased with the flavour and texture of the jam.  However, there is a bit more floating fruit than I would have liked.  Floating fruit is common with jams even when following the guideline to stir for five minutes before jarring.  This does reduce but not eliminate floating fruit.  The easy remedy for floating fruit is simply stirring the jar of jar when first opened.  Floating fruit does not affect the texture or flavour of the jam but it is not a desirable visual element for competition. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shrimp Stir Fry

It has been an unsettled yet interesting year thus far.  Life has thrown a few curve balls but in our true spirit, we have lobbied them back successfully.  We still managed to spend most of the month of May in Florida and Aruba so I'll share some of those foodie adventures.  Earlier this month, my husband had his gallbladder removed.  Despite all of the horror stories folks managed to share with us about this procedure, the only problem was a nasty reaction to his pain medication.  Other than that, the healing process was problem free.  He is back to enjoying food and is quite pleased that nothing seems to be bothering his stomach!

The discharge nurse suggested a bland diet for a couple of months then slowly start introducing fats and spice.  That didn't happen!  Butter, olive oil and coconut oil were all introduced within a day of post surgery.  Garlic pepper was included with his first solid food the evening of the surgery.  The first week, I made various pasta stir frys for dinner. 

Each stir fry was made with spaghettini and seafood (shrimp or scallops).  I added vegetables into the stir fry for the third dinner.  The shrimp stir fry pictured was incredibly easy to make.  It was a tasty,  low calorie, high protein meal.  The jumbo shrimp was frozen precooked so I thawed and removed the tails while the pasta was cooking.  When the pasta was cooked, I drained then heated a little olive oil in a non-stick fry pan.  I tossed in the shrimp and frozen Asian vegetable mix, stirring until warmed through.  Then I added the pasta, a small pat of butter (about 1 tsp) for extra flavour, and a light dash of garlic pepper.  This delicious stir fry, like most stir frys only took 15 minutes to put together.

The beauty of stir frys aside of being delicious is they are very quick to put together.  They are versatile too.  While rice and pasta are often added to stir frys,  quinoa or potatoes can be substituted.  Any meat or seafood can be used as well.  The choice for vegetables is endless.  Although I seldom add a sauce to my stir frys, it is easy to do so if desired.  A thin sauce adds another element of texture and flavour.  Worchestershire sauce, liquid aminos (soy free, low sodium) or soy sauce are all great ingredients to add extra flavour to stir frys in place of a thin sauce.  All the way around, stir frys get two thumbs up in my book!