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Thank You Easter Bunny! Bawk Bawk Posted on 10 Apr 07:56 , 0 comments

Well it's almost Easter and you know me I love to decorate! This is my house decorated for Easter!

Here is my Knickerbocker Bunny family. These are from the 1940's and when I saw them I had to start collecting the immediately. It took me 2 years to complete my collection! They are so cute!!! The picture behind was embroideried by my great aunt Tressie! She's been gone almost 40 years and I miss her every day.

This little, personalized Easter egg is from my daughter and grandkids! I just love it!!   This purple bunny is from my friend Dixie's mother. I love her eyelashes. She's from the 40's or 50's.  The vintage egg holder was a present from my friend Heather. I think the Easter eggs look so cute in there!

This little blue bunny is also from Dixie's mother. It reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit. I Love my big bunny I just had to put a bow on her!

Vintage paper mache eggs

I just found this treasure! It's a tin Easter Egg that plays "Here Comes Peter Cottontail." I saw it on Ebay and I had to have it! I had one when I was a little girl.

I love this little guy with his wheelbarrow full of jelly beans! He looks like he's up to something!

This Easter Egg was a present from my sister in law in the 80's. I've saved it all these years! It's so cute!

 Here's another Knickerbocker Bunny. And my collection of vintage tin Easter Eggs.

Don't you love her glasses, scarf  and apron!!!

 

My tin Easter Eggs! I put them in this vintage egg dish I found. I think people used to bake their eggs in the oven, not sure. But my Easter Eggs fit in here perfectly!

I found this little basket years ago at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It's from Czechoslovakia.  I just loved the colors.

Here's my Easter mantel.

I found this vintage tin Easter Basket on Ebay years ago!

This cardboard Easter Bunny is from Dixie's mother. He rocks back and forth!

I like to spread paper Easter grass around and add jelly beans and chocolate eggs! I told my husband he better not eat my decorations!

I found this little box and thought it fit right in! Just add some chenille chicks and it's perfect!

I don't remember where I found this treasure. It still has original Easter grass inside!

And my little books....

Here are the pillows I found on Amazon! They have my name all over them!!

Well that's it! We're planning our annual Easter Egg hunt and dinner with the family. 

I hope you all have a Happy Easter with the ones you love!

Love,

Betsy

p.s. I'm making the deviled eggs and Ambrosia!

 


Delicious and Dreamy Cream of Cauliflower Soup with no cream! Posted on 17 Jan 13:07 , 2 comments

I've been thinking about trying to make a cauliflower soup. Last weekend I was laying in bed and I watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen and guess what they were making...yep! Cream of Cauliflower soup! I couldn't stand it, I had to get up and try it and man o man, it was worth it.  This soup is so delicious and creamy you have to try it,  after every bite my husband says, Ummmm!  It's low carb and it's super easy.

Here we go!

Here are your ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

1 stick butter cut in half

2 tsp. bacon drippings (optional)

1 leek

1 small onion

Salt & Pepper

4 1/2 to 5 cups water or chicken broth

Melt 1/2 stick butter in your pot. Dice one onion and one leek add it to the pot. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt. (Make sure you clean the leek completely they can be dirty. I cut mine in half and rinse well). (Now the first time I made this I didn't have a leek, I just used a large onion and I'm not sure if I could tell the difference, but if you have one use it)! I also add about 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings. It gives it a nice smoky flavor. Cook until the onion is soft. This takes about 7-10 minutes.

In the meantime... Clean cauliflower and cut up into pieces. Save all the little crumbs because we're going to use that for our garnish. Also you can crush up a few florets to make more garnish pieces.

When the onion and leeks are soft and ready...

 Add 1/2 of the cauliflower pieces, Chicken stock (or water). Put lid on and bring to a simmer. This takes about 10 minutes.

Let simmer for 15 minutes.

While that is simmering we're going to make the garnish. You don't want to skip this part it is worth it and so delicious.

In a frying pan melt 1/2 stick of butter. ( I also add a tsp of bacon drippings, I can't help it I like the way it tastes!)

Add your small cauliflower pieces and let brown.

When they are brown, remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Put the brown butter in a separate bowl and set aside. This is our garnish.

After 15 minutes is up, add the second 1/2 of the cauliflower and let simmer for 20 minutes.

When that is done get your blender out. If you have a Vitamix you could probably do this is one batch. My Vitamix is buried somewhere so I'm using my little blender and I have to do a couple batches.

Fill the blender 2/3 full, remove the middle piece and put a cloth on top. It lets the steam escape. Pulse a couple of times then blend for about one minute and put into a bowl. Continue until everything is pureed.

When you're done pour back into your pot and adjust the thickness. You can add a little more water if it's too thick.

Now serve yourself a bowl of the most delicious, creamy, hearty, amazing cream of cauliflower soup you've ever tasted and don't forget to add the browned cauliflower and a drizzle of brown butter.

Ummm, ummmm good!

 p.s. I have a feeling I'm going to be making this soup a lot, going to have to go dig out that Vitamix!


Christmas time at Betsy's house! Posted on 21 Dec 16:44 , 2 comments

 

When I was growing up My mom always made our house so pretty for Christmas. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to decorate my own house for Christmas. I have been collecting Christmas ornaments and decorations my whole life!  Some of them were gifts, some I found at thrift stores, on-line and garage sales. I LOVE the decorations and old toys from the 40's and 50's because they remind me of my childhood and they are all so charming and adorable. 

It all starts the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when we go get the tree. It stays in the garage in a bucket drinking water until I'm ready. Then the night of Thanksgiving, after we've eaten turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, we come home and my husband, my son and I get all my Christmas decorations down from the attic.  The house is a total wreck for a few days.

It takes me about 3 or 4 days and then it starts to come together. Everything gets Christmas-fied!

I'll start with my fireplace. I love the big cardboard drugstore Santa and my pretty garland with vintage red Shiny Brite ornaments and the bells have lights that blink on and off.

 I have my 1929 vintage Mickey Mouse doll and two light up Santa's on either side!

Now for the tree.  This year we got a Frasier Fir. I love it. It looks so old fashioned!  It's covered with lots of beautiful vintage ornaments.  Most are Shiny Brite's made in America before WWII.  I hang vintage lead tinsel and finish the tree with a shooting star tree topper. And don't you just love my vintage Lionel train around the bottom! It works too!

 Here are my most precious ornaments, they are the ones my kids made in school! Adorable right?

My banister and my angel collection are over here...

 These angels are special to me. I've had a few of them ever since I was a little kid.  The rest I purchased or were gifts. The picture is of my niece Charlotte, when she was 4. Isn't she precious!

Now this little angel belonged to someone's Grandma Nichols. Now I don't know who Grandma Nicols is, but I'm sure she is happy knowing I have her angel on display! 

On the bottom of that angel it says Grandma Nichols birthday was 12-7-16. Next year she's going to be 100 years old!

My friend Pam gave me the little red angel. Isn't she so sweet!

My cute Christmas piano decorated with all my vintage toys.

I found this book and I put out every year! I mean it's perfect right!!

 I had a Christmas tree music box like this one when I was little. You turn it and it plays Silent Night.

 This little guy belonged to my grandma.

Also on my piano I display a locket I found years ago.

It was to Tecky from Arnold, 12-25-1938.

Here is the picture inside.  I put it out every year. I just know they love it.

Merry Christmas Tecky & Arnold!

Now this tree is so cool. It features all my favorite vintage ornaments. Some belonged to my friend Kathy's late mother in law. They are all so beautiful!

My vintage Nativity from the 1940's. It's a beauty.

 

My kitchen table and my snowman collection. Christmas dishes and silverware are all ready to go!

This little guy in the middle was the start of my collection! And the red card on the right was from my Great Aunt Tressie. We loved her so much!

These three amigos were handmade by my childhood neighbor, Joan Gates. She gave them to me and the kids in 1978! Love those googley eyes!

 My Christmas cookie area...

 

These are my vintage Christmas cookie decorations!

This is a Christmas Cookie mix that my friend Kath gave me. Isn't that a cute idea! And my cute little toy mixer my sister gave me for Christmas one year fits perfect here!

 

 I always get out all my Christmas records. My favorites are Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Beach Boys and of course the Christmas album my mom played every Christmas morning growing up. That's the red one on the left with Santa on the cover.

 Little red metal table in my living room all set up for the grandkids to play .

 

This is the Nice & Naughty list made by my friend Huck. It was on the script cover of one of our Christmas shows.  Of course I'm on the nice list!

This is also where I keep my special Christmas cards. This is one I got from my Uncle Tim when I was 5! It was full of dimes! Hey that was a lot of money for a 5 year old!

This is one of our family Christmas cards that I display every year.

From my brother, me, our dog Tina and my mom and dad! So special!

 

This is my little snow covered village.

  

Family room, more Santa's and my collection of old Christmas trees.

 

This is my stocking that my Aunt Evelyn made me when I was 2 years old. Santa's beard is fuzzy!

 

  My Santa collection. My son made that crazy Santa hanging on the door when he was 6 years old! Looks like he's got good some moves!

My mom got that big Santa at Moskatels in 1969. I know that because she wrote it on the bottom of his foot!

Don't you love the Santa made out of a baby food jar and felt?

 My friend Carolyn gave me these little pinecone men that were hers growing up. She thinks they are creepy. But they are right up my alley!

 

 My front porch is all decorated like a Winter Wonderland. Old sleds and ice skates. And my vintage Noel lights. Twinkling snow flakes too!

And even some wooden skis propped up in the corner!

All topped off with a Santa and Rudolph on the roof, a giant wreath and more twinkling snowflakes on the lawn.

I hope you enjoyed Christmas at Betsy's house. If you're in the area stop by for some hot chocolate!! May you all have a very Merry Christmas with your family and loved ones!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love Betsy

 P.S. I hope Santa is good to you this year!

 

 


"I'm thankful for you" cranberry sauce Posted on 17 Nov 13:48 , 4 comments

 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. Not only do I get to celebrate Thanksgiving but my birthday falls on or around that day, so I always celebrate both at the same time!  I get to spend the day with my all loved ones and the food is amazing. And you know how much I love good food.

To celebrate the season I love giving tokens of love and thankfulness to my friends and family.  A few years ago I came up with this idea of giving out homemade cranberry sauce. Everyone loved it, so now I do it every year. It's fun and easy to make and I think everyone needs delicious homemade cranberry sauce, for their Thanksgiving dinner (or if you're like my friend Kali, just to eat out of the jar.)  Here's how I do it...

First prepare your jars. I use the dishwasher.

Then prepare your cranberries. I just use regular Ocean Spray cranberries. They are available at most grocery stores around this time of year.

First put into a bowl and wash thoroughly. And drain. Pick out any bad berries and toss.

Then put into a large pan. I do 3 bags at a time. If you're doing one bag use a smaller pan.

Then add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water per 12 oz. bag.

Stir and turn on the heat. Let it come to a boil, then turn down so it just simmers. You'll start to hear the berries pop!

Be careful it can boil over, so keep the flame low and keep stirring.

Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring. When it gets thick, turn off the heat.

While this is simmering I prepare my lids. So they are ready when the sauce is done.

When the sauce is done it should be thickish. Now get your jars out of the dishwasher and fill with the hot cranberry sauce.

When you're done, wipe the rims with a wet paper towel to remove any sticky sauce.

Add the lids and rings and place onto the canner.

Put on lid and wait until the steam comes out of the little hole and let process 10 mins.

Remove and let cool. It will thicken up even more as it cools.

As a final touch, I use a little vintage Thanksgiving postcard from the internet as a label. I print it on paper, cut out and use a glue stick to adhere to the jar.

It says, "May this Thanksgiving Day warm your heart with Joy and Gladness." Isn't that sweet. If you want to use it here is the jpg. Just right click and  choose "Save Image As" to save to your computer.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and you get to be with the ones you love.

Love Betsy

 


Trick or Treat! Smell my feet... Posted on 7 Oct 21:03 , 3 comments

I LOVE decorating my house and have been collecting decorations my whole life.  I decorate for almost every holiday. Luckily my house has an attic that you can walk around in, so I have a good place to store all my valuable stuff.  I try to buy a couple new decorations every year and as you can see I have quite a collection. Halloween is one of my favorites. Every morning when I come down stairs, I love seeing all the jack-o-lanterns smiling at me and I love the warm happy colors. They makes me feel so good!  I go for a vintage, pretty look, nothing scary or gross.  I love vintage, but it's hard to find.  So I mix vintage with new and here's what it looks like. 

This is my fire place. It's the focal point of my living room. It's been so hot here in So. Cal that I can't light a fire, so I have twinkle lights scattered among the logs. My pumpkin garland is made of paper mache with leaves intertwined. I love my vintage looking witch and my vintage black cats.

Between my two chairs I have this beautiful old dresser. My friend Dixie gave me her mother's Halloween decoration and that's where I got those great Halloween plates!

And on my little shelf are more of the vintage decorations from my friend Dixie's mother. Dixie knows how much I like to decorate and thought it would make her mother happy that her decorations went to a good home where they are loved and appreciated. They are all so darling, from the 1940's and 50's. They are so me!!  I LOVE them. I was speechless when she gave them to me. I almost cried!

On my end table I have a witch and some old noise makers from Dixie's mother.

On my coffee table I have some cute pumpkins and some more old noise makers from Dixie's mother.

On the bottom shelf I have some personalized Halloween script covers from the show. My friend Huck is an amazing artist and every year he customizes our script covers for special occasions.

I put a pretty little pumpkin garland on my stair rails for a good pop of color and wreaths on my doors.

 

I found these adorable little black mice silhouettes from Martha Stewart! I mean come on, aren't they awesome!

In my piano room I put an old Beistle garland around my mirror and this is where all my owls go! I got that cute black owl at Cost Plus this year for $12.00. I put a light inside so he glows at night.

Still in my piano room on the other wall is my vintage little cat with a pumpkin on top and my vintage cookie cutters that were also Dixie's mothers.

My kitchen is in constant use so I have to keep it simple. That pumpkin crock was $20 at Cost Plus this year and it looks perfect on my vintage stove. And I love my vintage pumpkin spice tin.

I LOVE string. And found these little Halloween figures on tooth picks and stuck them in my string collection. I think it works!

On my table I just put my cute black scale and a pumpkin from my garden.

My chalk board has pictures of me, my husband and my kids and grandkids all at Halloween.

In my family room I just put a few things in there. I have to keep it kid friendly.

Let's go outside...

I always go to Forneir's Farm to get cornstalks and pumpkins to decorate my front porch for Halloween and Thanksgiving. It's such a great place to go. They have a pumpkin patch and rides for the kids too! It's also where I go and get my corn every year. 

When I went to Home Depot last Saturday to get my snap dragons I found this witch. I had to have her she was calling my name! Isn't she so cute and she lights up too!! My husband couldn't wait to climb on the roof and put her up. He's such a good sport!!

I put real and fake pumpkins all around my porch. I planted some pretty snap dragons. I like them because the last all winter!

And last but not least is my bird bath. I planted yellow and orange Marigolds around the bottom!

Thanks for coming by and seeing my house! Happy Halloween!!

 


I scream, You scream, well you know the rest... Posted on 30 Sep 20:34 , 0 comments

Every summer I have lots of parties and I love to serve home made ice cream with cookie sheet cake! (Gonna do a blog on making cookie sheet cake).  It is one of our family rituals! We used to use the old hand crank, so needless to say, we only had home made ice cream a couple times a year. Well, we found this great ice cream maker that is electric! It's amazing!! I now serve ice cream at every one of our parties!!

Here is the ice cream maker I got! They don't make mine any more but they make the same one with a darker bucket. Click here for more info.

Here is how I make home made ice cream. This recipe has been in my family for many years. I've been eating this ice cream all my life and it is super delicious!

Here's what you'll need.

1. Ice cream maker

2. Ice cream salt

3. At least 3 bags of ice

The recipe is as follows:

2- quarts of 1/2 & 1/2

1 1/2 Cups sugar

5 eggs

3 Tablespoons vanilla

Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Juice of two lemons (optional)

Finely grated zest of one lemon (optional)

First we have to prepare the bucket.  At least 2 hours before you start fill the wooden bucket with water. This makes the wood swell, so it won't leak.

Wash your ice cream canister and paddle. Let dry.

Now you're ready to make your ice cream mixture.

Add 5 eggs and 1 1/2 Cups sugar into a bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved. Add half and half and let blend a few more minutes on low. If you're nervous about using raw eggs, make sure you wash them before cracking.

Then add 3 Tablespoons vanilla and the inside of a vanilla bean. Mix in. Put the left over bean pod in your homemade vanilla bottle. (Gonna do a blog about making home made vanilla)

Add fresh squeezed lemon juice. Mix in. Wait to add zest.

Now pour mixture into canister and use a strainer.

Now add the lemon zest once the strainer is removed. Otherwise it will not go through strainer. I learned this the hard way!

Now put in paddle and put on lid.

We make this outside because the salty water can spill over. Empty your bucket, put in canister and add motor to top. Start layering ice and salt. Turn on the motor and keep layering.

You'll use about 3/4 of a box of salt. Don't be stingy! Salting ice lowers the freezing point of water. Also make sure that the ice/salt stays below the lid or it will seep in and ruin your ice cream. I also learned this the hard way. Keep an eye on it. It should take about an hour. It will stop all by it self. After it stops remove the paddle and sample! This is my favorite part!!

  

Then cover with saran wrap and put the lid on and cover with ice and a towel.

 

Let sit for at least a couple hours. Remove towel, lid and saran wrap and you're ready to serve. Will easily serve 15-20 people.

 p.s. I have two ice cream freezers and usually make two batches. We are enthusiastic ice cream eaters and everyone goes in for seconds or even thirds!!

 


How to can tomatoes in 17 easy steps! Posted on 21 Sep 14:21 , 4 comments

Every year I can tomatoes to use throughout the year. This year my goal was to can 500 pounds of tomatoes. I have to say it's not hard, but there are a lot of steps and it's messy. But it's sooo worth it. I asked my husband, how in the world could I inspire someone to want to can when it looks kind of hard. Well I thought about it and here's what I came up with.

Every time I read articles about the worst 10 foods you could eat, canned tomatoes are usually number one. The reason they are on the top ten list is because the inside of the can is lined with plastic containing BPA.  People are shocked when I tell them that canned tomatoes are bad. After all, tomatoes are a vegetable (or technically fruit), so how can they be bad? Well, it has more to do with the packaging than the actual food.

Bisphenol-A, A Harmful Chemical

Most of us know that BPA is harmful. BPA, shortened from bisphenol-a is a chemical used to coat the lining of cans and most plastic products.

BPA can leach into foods and drinks by way of plastic containers, Tupperware, bottles, and cans.

Children are most susceptible to the effects of BPA chemicals. Below are just a few of the detected health problems resulting from BPA exposure (source).

  • hormonal disruption
  • reproductive harm
  • increased risk of certain cancers
  • malformation of organs in children
  • risk of miscarriage
  • sperm defects
  • increased risk of mental disabilities in babies.

BPA exposure is widespread, mostly because BPA is in most plastics and we use use so much of it, especially around our food. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2517 urine samples from people older than 6 years old.

Why Are Canned TOMATOES so bad?

It’s true that most cans have BPA lining, unless it is labelled otherwise, so why am I singling out canned tomatoes?

I’m focusing on canned tomatoes because since tomatoes are highly acidic, it draws out more of the BPA into the food from the lining. So, canned tomatoes have an especially high risk of leaching BPA into the tomatoes because of the acidity. This is not to say that other canned goods do not also pose BPA exposure risks (they most certainly do), but tomatoes are one of the worst offenders.

Don’t be fooled by BPA-FREE Cans!

Unfortunately, BPA-free cans don’t really solve the problem. When the word started getting out about the dangers of BPA a few years ago, consumers started demanding that companies quit using BPA. So, companies responded to consumer pressure and largely removed BPA from their packaging, BUT they replaced it with another chemical that has similar associated health risks called BPS–Bisphenol S.

So, even though the thought of a BPA-free label may comfort many consumers, it’s a false promise. The cans and plastics labelled as BPA-free will still have some sort of chemical in them and usually it’s BPS. That’s why I always recommend only using natural products like glass and stainless steel to avoid ANY type of plastic.

So that being said, here is how to can your own tomatoes in glass jars that are chemical free, re-usable and so delicious!

Every year Underwood Farms in Moorpark, CA (click for more info) has a Roma tomato event! It is usually at the end of August. You can pick your own Roma tomatoes for 25 cents a pound or order pre-picked for 50 cents a pound. I picked my own for the first few years and it's fun (you've got to try it at least once) but it takes a whole day away from canning. So now I order pre-picked and it works out better for me.

This year I started out by ordering 400 pounds. When I looked at all these tomatoes, I had a small panic attack. So I put 4 boxes in the refrigerator and I felt better, because 12 boxes is much less intimidating (NOT!)

Now we've got our tomatoes, here goes the canning process.

First of all I put my jars in the dishwasher to get sterilized. Takes about 2 hours, so you have plenty of time to do the prep work.

Next I put tarps down on the floors and towels on the counters. Trust me the clean up is so much easier.

Then I start processing my tomatoes one 25 pound box at a time. Just look at these beauties. 25 pounds will give me about  12 quarts of whole tomatoes.

First you wash the tomatoes really good. I use my garage sink that has been disinfected.  I use a plastic washtub to bring them into the house once they are washed. One heaping tub is enough to do your first 7 quarts of tomatoes.

Once they are all washed, you remove the core and then you cut an X on the bottom of each tomato. Put into a bowl.  

Then put the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water until the skins split. Then put them in an ice bath and let cool.

When they are cool you can slip the skins right off.

Once they are all peeled, you can prepare your jars. Get 7 jars out of the dishwasher. Put one teaspoon of sea salt ( I use Pink Himalayan) and 2 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice. Must be bottled! This is ensures they have the correct acid content.

At this point it's time to get your lids ready. Put 7 lids and rings in a pot of water and bring to a simmer.

Now you can start putting your whole, peeled tomatoes in the jars. I use a funnel to make it less messy. You have to shove as many tomatoes as you can and I do mean shove!

Then you remove the air with this bubble remover (click for more info) . Run it down each side of the jar. Leave a one inch head space. Once they are all de-bubbled, wipe the rims with a paper towel saturated in white vinegar. This removes all the stickiness and helps the jars seal. 

Now you can apply the lids and rings. I use this lid lifter (click for more info) because these suckers are hot! (This pic is not tomatoes it's jam but the process is the same). Only tighten finger tight. If you do them to tight the lids buckle.

Once you've got the lids on, put into the canner. I use a steam canner. It is awesome! Here's the link. You can also use a water bath method.

Put the lid on and wait for the steam to come out of the hole. Set the timer for 60 minutes and go start your next batch or this is when I take my break and have a lemonade, lay on the couch and watch my DVR'd "Real Housewives."

When the timer goes off, wait a minute and lift the lid off away from you, that steam is hot and can burn! Remove jars with jar lifter (click for more info) and let cool over night. The lids should "ping" closed. Don't help them. Let it happen naturally. If they do not seal put in fridge and use quickly.

After they are all sealed and cooled, remove rings, wash and dry. Store without rings, in a cool, dark place. These will last in your pantry at least a year but I'm sure you'll use them all up before then!

You've done it!! It is the best feeling in the world to see home canned tomatoes in your pantry!

 p.s. After I finished my 400 pounds I went and ordered another 100 pounds and made salsa! I ended up with 96 jars of whole tomatoes, 24 jars of tomato sauce and 164 jars of salsa and I achieved my goal!

 


Tis The Season...no not Christmas silly...Canning Season!! Posted on 24 Aug 12:28 , 3 comments

It's that time of year when everything is delicious, ripe and beautiful here in California! Or as I like to call it "Canning season!" Between the middle of August and beginning of September it seems that everything gets ripe all at the same time, so it's a busy time of the year in my little kitchen. Who am I kidding, in my kitchen it's always busy time...but anyways. The first thing I make is peach jam. People always ask me why I can things. First of all, there is nothing like opening up a jar of peach jam in the winter. It tastes like a little bit of heaven on a piece of toast or English muffin. Heck, my friend Kali eats it out of the jar with a spoon. And it's so much better than store bought, I like to know exactly what I'm eating, I like my food in glass, it's an old fashion tradition that I like to keep alive and it's so satisfying to see the fruits of my labors in my pantry when it's all done. I truly love it. I can't help it I just do!

I thought it would be fun to share with you how I make peach jam, so you could try it too! Here's what you're gonna need for one batch.

8 -1/2 pint jars and lids

6-7 delicious, ripe, juicy, organic peaches, you better get 8 or 9 because you're gonna want to eat a couple! I use peaches I get at Blum Ranch. Click here for link.

7 cups sugar (yes that's right! Don't use less it won't work)

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 pouches Certo liquid pectin -for link click here

Fruit Fresh powder (optional) click here for link

Large pot for jam

A steam canner. I use steam canner here's a link. It's a lot easier than water bath.

Jar lifter and lid lifter,  bubble remover and funnel. Click here for the link. 

One batch makes about 7 or 8 -1/2 pint jars.

Here we go...

First put on some good music. Super important.

Now, prepare your jars and lids. You have to sterilize your jars. I use the dishwasher. Or you can steam in the steam canner for 10 minutes. Put your lids and bands in a pan, cover with water and turn it on low, just bring to a simmer. Keep on low until you're ready to use.

Now to get the peaches ready. Wash, peel and pit your peaches.

Then chop them up until you have 4 cups. Mash it down to make sure it's 4 full cups. I like chunks of fruit in mine. If you don't like it chunky you can run it through the blender to make a puree. Sprinkle with Fruit Fresh or lemon juice to prevent browning.

Put into your pot and add sugar and lemon juice & mix together.

Turn on the stove on low and it will start to liquefy and look like this...

Bring to a boil and let boil one minute. Then add two packs of Certo and bring back to a boil and boil 1 minute.

Turn off heat and let sit a minute or two then skim the foam off the top. This is not my favorite step. My daughter loves doing it.

Keep skimming until it looks like this... Might take a few minutes and it seems like you're wasting some precious jam but trust me it's worth it. All the impurities are in that foam so you don't want it in your jam. Plus it looks weird and ugly! No one wants to eat that!

Get your clean jars out and put them on a dry towel. Ladle your jam in your jars. I use a funnel it keeps the jars cleaner and causes less spills. Fill to about 1/2 inch from the top.

Wipe the rims of your jars with a paper towel saturated with vinegar. It cuts right through the sticky sugar. Put on the the lids and bands. I have a lid remover, it's pretty handy. It has a magnet on the bottom makes it easier to get the lids out of the hot water.

Put them on your steam canner. Fill the bottom of the canner with hot water. Put on lid. You can do this step earlier and have it all ready to go.

Turn on high, when the steam starts pouring out of the little hole in the front, set the timer for 10 minutes.

When done, wait a few minutes remove lid away from you, the steam is hot and remove the jars and remove jars and place on dry towel.

Let cool 24 hours. Remove rings and wash!

Now you have delicious home made jam. Go make a piece of toast or grab a spoon, put your feet up and enjoy! It's so good!

 


Peaches and Pears and Lilacs! Oh my! Posted on 20 Aug 15:40 , 1 comment

 

Every year in the middle of August I make peach jam for my family to eat and to give away at Christmas. I always go to Blum Ranch out in Acton, California to get my peaches. I love to go there. The air is so clean and they have the best peaches I've ever eaten. Plus it's old and cute and right up my alley and I love supporting their business. Click here to see how cute it is for yourself... It's over 110 years old. I make at least two trips a year. Once in spring for the Lilacs (they have lilac orchards and you can buy a super huge bouquet, and I do mean huge, it's like 3 feet tall. for $18.00) and then in the middle of August for peaches, pears and what ever else sounds good.

It's out in the middle of no where, about 4-5 miles from the Santiago off ramp on the14 Freeway going towards Palmdale/Lancaster. When you get there you drive on a little dirt road, through the orchard to get to the building where they sell the peaches, pears, tomatoes, honey, jams and jellies and depending on what's in season, lots of other good stuff. His cantaloupe is so amazing.  You can stroll through the orchards, sit on the tractors and take pictures. You just can't pick the fruit unless it's the figs. They let us pick the figs for a dollar a pound last time we were there.

Not very fancy, but full of character and charm. I love it. When you get there you're greeted by Ray Billet and his wife Elizabeth.

She was Miss Acton in 1952. In 1953 Elizabeth married her high school sweetheart, Ray. They were blessed with 3 children: Richard, Terry, and Donald, plus 5 grandchildren, Daniel, Joseph, Kimberly,Michiko, and George, the 5th generation. Since late 1953, they have continued working the ranch with about 60 acres planted: 1,000 pear trees, 5,500 peaches with 3,000 of those Blum's Beauty that Ray developed, and 4 acres of lilacs. They are continuing a family tradition started in 1891, over 110 years ago.

This is Ray yesterday posing for me. Dig those crazy red suspenders and that red hat!

And this is Elizabeth when she was Miss Acton 1952.

They live right next door in an old stone covered, two-story house, surrounded by giant pine trees, that is 110 years old. Peach and pear orchards on one side, lilac orchards on the other. Little dirt paths lined with old rock walls every where. Can you imagine how great that would be. Throw in some chickens and it would be my dream come true! Ray told me the inside is beautiful. Maybe one day he'll invite me in! Finger's crossed!! I'm putting that on my bucket list.

They even have their own water tower and lots of tractors.

So if you're ever in the area of Acton, California be sure to stop by and get some peaches or lilacs and say "Hello" to Ray and his wife Elizabeth! You won't be sorry.

p.s. I almost for got to show you the peaches I got. Aren't the beauties! Oh, I ate that one missing out of the middle, on the way home, I couldn't wait and it was juicy, sweet and delicious!

 


Thanks SteveMargolis.com Posted on 11 Aug 19:57 , 0 comments

Steve Margolis has a very smart & very funny blog and recently discovered Naturally Betsy, thanks to his wife Nancy and gave us a big shout out!

Here's what he said:

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog entry about cosmetics and all the wonderfully disgusting things that go into making them.

There was one bright spot though- I mentioned a website called Naturally Betsy, that makes face and body care products from all-natural ingredients.

I received quite a few comments and emails about the site and decided to try out some of their offerings.

Now, since I don’t use any type of skin care products, I asked my wife to try them out and give me the results.

My wife has perfect skin, She uses moisturizers, wears sunscreen, and eats a proper diet- basically the polar opposite of what I do. So she tried some of the Naturally Betsy products, and here’s the review she gave me:

Bug Off – I spray this on before filling the bird feeders and birdbaths in the morning (dawn) and before walking the dogs in the evening (dusk) to stay bite free. It really does the job.

 Clean as a Whistle – a good cleaner that I’ve been using on my kitchen counters.  A little goes a long way.  The vinegar smell reminds me of when we used to decorate Easter eggs in the old days.   

 Be Fresh in Sandalwood – I’m calling this “magic in a jar”!  A wonderful all-natural deodorant which is both effective and smells amazing!  I love how it disappears on my skin and doesn’t leave any marks on my clothes.  Absolutely fantastic product!

 Happy Lips – great for my dry summer lips.  I’d recommend one tube for your purse, beach tote or backpack and a second for the nightstand for use just before bedtime.  The lavender scent  is great.   

 Fresh Hands – my bottle of Fresh Hands came to the office with me and lives on my desk.  I love the scent and it’s great aromatherapy for the afternoon hours when I need a pick-me-up or to freshen my hands.

 Happy Heels – Didn’t get a chance to try this for myself…my sister-in-law, the shoe-lover, saw it in my Naturally Betsy bag and her eyes lit up, so I gave it to her and she says it works great.  I’ll need to pick up one of these in my next order.

So there you have it. It passed the Nancy test.

All of my readers (the three of you) should check out the site.

It sounds like it’s the real deal, so I’m recommending it.