Trying new things

My alone time is very precious to me and important for my sanity.  I realize that in the coming years my “me” time will become much less frequent as we start a family.  Lately I have been trying to make the most of my days off by trying out some new things, mostly stuff I have secretly always wanted to do but never made time for.  It has made my alone time extra enjoyable.

A couple weeks ago I planted some herbs.  I have always wanted to grow my own herbs, but I guess I’ve just always been too lazy.  It’s really not that hard and takes very little maintenance, so I just did it.  I bought my planting supplies at Wally-world.

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I stuck to three herbs: cilantro, basil, and oregano.  I love the flavors and actually use all three of these in my cooking regularly, so it will be a nice change to have the real stuff and not use the dried herbs or pay a ton of money for the store-bought fresh stuff.

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I read some stuff online and decided to just plant all three types of seeds in one plant pot.  It literally took me 5 minutes.

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I’ve been keeping the herbs watered, and the seeds are starting to sprout now.  I’ll keep you updated as they grow and get ready for use!

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My other recent project was… to make homemade strawberry jam!!  I have always always always wanted to learn how to preserve food and make homemade jams.  I wish I had been able to learn from one of my grandmas, but sadly I missed that chance.  So, I decided to figure it out myself.  It is actually pretty easy once you have the right supplies and thorough instructions.

I found a very thorough two-part blog post on making strawberry jam on The Pioneer Woman’s site.  Then, I went to the store (Wally-world again) and bought the supplies.  It was a little bit of an investment, probably about $50 total including the ingredients.  Strawberries are really cheap now, so I got a 1/2 flat for $5, which was awesome.  The canning pot and other supplies can be used over and over, though, so I plan to get my money’s worth by trying out different recipes.  I also spent an extra $5 for the Ball book of preserving recipes.  I would definitely recommend this book.  I ended up using the book’s step-by-step directions and a recipe from the book.

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Mmmm mashed up berries…

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Heating up the jars…

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Cooking the jam…

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Adding seven (yes, SEVEN) cups of sugar…

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Into the jars…

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Heat-processing…

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And, finally, nine beautiful jars of jam!!

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Of course, I had to make them cute.  🙂

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It is so good!!  At first I thought maybe I just liked it because I made it, but Matt really loves it, too.  I have been eating it on sandwiches and toast and even in my oatmeal.

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(Here it is on some store-bought naan, which is really not impressive.  I am picky about naan because I’ve had the gooood stuff in India before.  I think I am going to try to make my own naan soon.)

If you’ve never tried canning before, I would suggest you give it a whirl.  It is very relaxing.  🙂

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About Jayce

I am a lover of Jesus, a newlywed, part of a crazy sisterhood of 4, aunt to 10 fabulous kids, a Registered Nurse, a work in progress, and an amateur cook/baker! I was born and raised in Florida, and I am loving it still. My husband, Matt, and I bought our first house last year and are enjoying making it into a home. I work nights in the ICU for now, and we are making the most of this life. :)
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3 Responses to Trying new things

  1. Jessica says:

    That jam looks SO good! I bet it would taste awesome in cookies too! You made them so pretty. 🙂 Oh, and I bought basel already sprouting at the grocery store last weekend. All I did was buy it and it died almost immediately… plants hate me. 😦

  2. Tiffany says:

    I tried canning once and it was anything but relaxing!! So glad you are enjoying it though. I remember my days before kids and I did so much fun domestic stuff. I remember sitting in the teacher’s lounge talking about making homemade Pace picante sauce and a much older teacher asked me why in the world I’d make my own when I could just go to Publix and buy it. My answer was that making my own was fun! Now–I’d just go buy it! :0)

  3. Carli says:

    Jaycee,
    I totally bought a trough-style pot this weekend for my herb garden that I have been wanting for a long time. I don’t have a yard but I’m going to try my back portch.
    We will have to can sometime when we are together, I feel like that would be a really fun party.

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