Sunday, July 24, 2016

Raspberry Jam made with Clear Jel....

#amatterofprep

Yes, it is glorious Raspberry season again.  I look forward to fresh Raspberries to eat in salads, alone, and certainly in Jam!  Don't you just love fresh Raspberries?

Making Raspberry Jam with Clear Jel:

I have many folks visit my blog to learn more about using Clear Jel.  I wrote a post about making many different Jams using Clear Jel a few years ago.  Even now, this post gets a great deal of attention this time of year.  I have used it to make Salsa as well.    Additionally, I have used it in canning Pie Fillings  because unlike cornstarch, it does not separate and break down the gel portion of the pie filling.

Well, Rooster Senior likes Raspberry jam a whole lot. So, I got busy and made some Raspberry Jam:

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The recipe calls for crushed berries. I use my potato masher/ricer.

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Instead of using the standard Pectin products that require copious amounts of sugar, you will use less sugar when you use a recipe that requires Clear Jel.  The secret to success is to mix your Clear Jel to the dry ingredients first.

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Although the recipe that will appear at the bottom of this post does not call for Koolaid (per the author), please consider adding a packet to each batch.  It really enhances the flavor.

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Mix the dry ingredients to the heated berry mixture slowly.  Bring to a boil.

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Ladle your mixture into clean/sterilized jars.  There is some discussion about whether jars need to be sterilized.  I choose to error on the side of caution. Process per the directions in a Hot Water Bath. 

Would you like the Recipe?


Berry Jam4 cups crushed berries or juiced
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 tablespoons Clear Jel®
Sugar to taste (approximately 1 1/2 cup)
Add lemon juice to berries. Combine Clear Jel® with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add to berries. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add rest of sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour into jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath or freeze.

(Don't forget to add the Koolaid, it is really delicious!)

Take Home Points:

  • Clear Jel is shelf stable and according to my research lasts indefinitely.  Compare that with traditional products that are used to make jam. 
  • Jam recipes calling for Clear Jel often use nearly half of the sugar that traditional jam recipes call for.  
  • When added to dry ingredients, it mixes well and give the jam a wonderful consistency.
  • This is a simple recipe that does not take a lot of time.  
  • Rooster Senior has already polished off one jar. Rooster Junior took a jar, and I have 2 to the neighbors already.  The magic or jam brings smiles to all those who receive it!

Where do you purchase Clear Jel?

If you use a Search Engine like Google/Chrome to find Clear Jel, be sure to click on the "Shopping" option at the top of the page. You should see many options to purchase this product.  I have purchased mine locally from a little shop in South Salt Lake that declines to get a website.  Alas I would give you a link but there is none.

Try it!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

"No Empty Chairs ......"

A Matter of Preparedness

I have been heartsick these past few weeks with all the vitriol, anger, and senseless choices of so many.  I am saddened by the loss of life in so many settings despite the circumstances. We certainly live in very troubled times. When this all began, it reminded me of the turmoil that rocked 1968, particularly around the political party conventions.  At that time, there were differing viewpoints on who was justified in their actions and who was not.  This is also the case today.  Folks....no matter what.....no matter who.....no matter when.....this senselessness is just that--SENSELESS!.  

I will not engage in a diatribe of who is right and who is wrong....that is a wormhole that many will be willing jump into with you.  Instead, I choose to share or remind, (what ever is the case with you and your family), that your family and family members are more precious than anything you own, do or say or in life.  

This seems so very basic, but as you hear reports from various venues, too many do not appear to put their family as their priority and protect them with all the resources that they may have had at their disposal.  We see family's outcries when they learn of the death of a loved one in a heated incident, (with too many who are and were so young). We see individuals claiming to have relationships with folks in the news (either dead or alive) to garner favor, funds, or fame.  As noted above....THIS IS SENSELESS....

In talking with colleagues, customers, and friends there is a sense of sadness, despair, and hopelessness.  "How could we be in this position?" "Who finds these terrible outcomes worth the choice?" These and many other questions fall from the lips of concerned citizens, neighbors, friends, and family members.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

When I was very young, my parents moved our family to the Midwest, to a State that had recently experienced rioting and unrest.  My childhood friends, concerned for me, told me that they thought we were all going to be hurt.  Some adults's opinions and statements including gloomy outcomes for our family in a spiritual sense.   It scared me initially, but because of the choices of my parents, I felt calm and peace even when new situations did arise that I had never been exposed to before.

 But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23)

There are many categories of 'preparation'.  One category that I feel often is not even given lip service is Spiritual Preparation.  In my view, this is probably the important and needful area to have incorporated even before attempting educational, professional, and other areas.  It is the all-encompassing umbrella for all the Son's and Daughter's of our Heavenly Father, despite the circumstances that we may have been born and raised in.

When my parents made the decision to go, as I indicated before, so may of our neighbors and friends had cautious and discouraging words.  However, my Grandmother looked at our Parents and our family and said "Whatever is best for you is best for us".  We would no longer be within a 2 hour drive, it would be one or more flights for our Grandparents to see us.  No longer would I be in the majority in my community when it came to religious beliefs.  I personally was challenged, and am now grateful for the test.  Instead of following the majority, I had to learn, pray and decide for myself who our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost were...and if they were real.

Our Family Spiritually prepared with daily prayer held morning and night.  We met as a family each Monday night to spend time together. These evenings often included religious instruction, but many were just doing fun things together. These were spiritual and emotional building experiences.  Scripture study was encouraged, and attendance in a religious class outside of our Sunday Service was also valued.  Each experience, each morsel, each spiritual prompting were the building blocks for me and my siblings to handle the blessings and hardships of life while we were young and well into our adult years.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)

My Parents, siblings and their spouses recently gathered together to celebrate a major life milestone.  We spend several days together.  One evening, during dinner, I looked around at each face sitting at the table. I reflected upon how much I had admired each one.  My Sisters and Parents have chosen to remain faithful in their religious convictions.  All of my Brother-in-laws had bravely made a decision in their young lives to seek Spiritual guidance and change their lives in order to be in the service of Heavenly Father.  In particular, my husband, at the age of 12 was attending different faiths attempting to feed his Spirit.  I find this so impressive for one so young.

Our Family has endured much. There have been job loses, serious health issues, challenges with family members, and more. But it is just as important to list and count our blessings.  For example, one of my siblings recently emerged from an episode with Cancer.  I am so grateful for these good people.  

I share this with you to help you understand the phrase "No Empty Chairs".  My Parents (my Father in particular) would often use this phrase. The phrase means that we are so precious to our Parents, that they desire that as a family, we live our lives in such a way that when this life is over we will live together.  This is a great blessing that is available to all of Heavenly Father's children.


As a momento of our recent family time together, one of my siblings had both the necklace and engraved pocketknives prepared for each of us. It was one of the culminating events of the time we spent together and a reminder to seek for spiritual things and be sensitive to promptings to serve. 

It is now my charge to continue to love and encourage my children and grandchildren to become increasingly prepared in Spirit. My children have experienced life-altering challenges. Most have weathered the storm well...some have hidden battle scars (as do we all) that still are stumbling blocks for them.  It is my wish that they, and all of us, can be hopeful amidst the chaos in life.  It is my hope and prayer that "There are No Empty Chairs" in my family or in any family when we have all finished our earthly missions.

The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” God will wait with “open arms to receive”those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.

And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

Never surrender.

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.  

(President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)


"....No Empty Chairs...."



Friday, July 8, 2016

Powerless Cooking: Baking a Casserole in a Grill...

A Matter of Preparedness

This was the scene last Monday morning, on the Fourth of July.  We were enjoying the weekend in a Cabin with some family-friends.  It was early morning and the group was anticipating Breakfast.  This Cabin comes equipped with a Propane stove complete with an Oven in the kitchen.  Our dear guests had prepared a Breakfast Casserole anticipating that it would cook in the Oven.  

But, as many of us know, the best laid plans do not always work out.  The Oven decided not to work.  Our friends attempted to cook it on top of the stove on the burner.

As I have experimented with cooking and baking inside of a grill, I suggested that we attempt to cook the casserole in the grill.  Initially, there appeared to be some hesitation, but we went outside and fired up the grill.

A Matter of Preparedness

You may have to remove the upper shelf if you grill has one. We did remove it to make room for the skillet. We were fortunate enough to locate two bricks to put under the Cast Iron Frying Pan. This helps to elevate the food and allow the flow of heat around the dish.

A Matter of Preparedness

During our first attempt to close the lid to the grill, the handle of the cast iron pan was in the way.  However, by turning the pan and placing the handle in the back corner, we could close the lid. This was one really big Cast Iron Skillet!

A Matter of Preparedness

Use the temperature gauge on the outside of your grill. Most have a gauge on the outside of the lid.  Build the heat to 350 degrees. Once you reach your desired temperature, turn the heat down to low.  This hopefully will keep the temperature at a constant. The casserole baked until it was ready. As noted above, foil was used on top of the casserole.  Our guests peeked every few minutes (even though I informed them that they will loose heat each time the lid was lifted) and they were pleased to see that the top of the casserole was baking nicely with the eggs were setting up nicely.

A Matter of Preparedness

Look at how beautifully it set up. It was firm all the way through and was delicious!  It was a welcome site on a cold morning in the mountains!

Take Home Points:

  • A Grill is for more than just grilling steaks!
  • A Grill is a great piece of equipment that can be used for emergency cooking and baking!
  • A Grill does not require Electricity, but it does require either Propane or Natural Gas depending on your hook-up.
  • In a pinch, we had everything we needed to cook our planned meal and enjoy the beautiful day!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Our Independence, Our Freedom, Our blessing...


Most of you are probably beginning your holiday celebration for the Fourth of July. I have been very concerned about our precious Republic and her future.  So many of elements of our society, the loud and progressive, have brought about significant changes in our Republic's landscape.  Certainly there really is the landscape, the environment and all that it encompasses.  But I am also speaking to the social, political, and the sacred familial freedoms that we have historically enjoyed.

I do not wish to be political here. However, let's just say that I am looking at Candidates that I may have never sought out before in regard to the Presidential campaign.  I still believe the honor, integrity, wisdom, respect, ethics, and  righteous principals are necessary tools in the toolbox of any President.  I have tried to vote with these ideals in mind my entire adult life.  I see no reason to break away from them now.

I have to admit, I have been a bit discouraged about the course of our beloved Republic.  I have determined that I have been gathering my information from TV and Radio sources that tend to discourage and exploit for ratings despite their political leaning. 

Thus, I was so grateful to find this breath of fresh air....Elder D Todd Christofferson who was a keynote speaker at the Freedom Festival (held annually in Provo Utah).  I am again hopeful and thankful for the many gifts the almighty have given.  I vow again to look forward with hope and faith in this blessed land, and will participate and work to do what I can to ensure Her safety.  

I encourage you to put up your feet, and listen to the amazing speech. (Start at minute 2:09). I hope it will warm you heart during this Holiday weekend as we remember those who sacrificed so much to keep us free.




Sunday, June 12, 2016

Growing Potatoes In A Bag....One Week Later

#amatterofprep

Well, my last post was about my choice to try to grow potatoes in a bag.  Last week, I had rolled the bag so that it was only 1/3 of it's normal height.

Within a few days, I had to unroll the bag and add more soil as the plants were growing by leaps and bounds!

#amatterofprep

As of yesterday, I had to unroll the entire bag to add more soil. As I stated before, these plants are growing very quickly!

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Although it isn't lovely (the bag I mean), but I have loved how simple this process is.  I look forward to harvesting them at the right time.  I am curious about just how many potatoes we will have!

I'll keep you posted.....


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