Monday, July 22, 2013

nautical potluck

Lydia is awesome.  She said she had been wanting to throw a nautical-themed party for a long time and asked if I wanted to help.  I had heard rumors about Lydia's parties so of course I wanted to be involved...and learn from the master.  Mostly I tied up forks and napkins with baker's twine and Lifesavers as she suggested and made some deviled egg sailboats.  The rest of the time I sat back in awe.  There's something magical about this woman and the amount of STUFF she has on hand ready to decorate any and every surface.  There were whale garlands, old glass bottles, shower curtains, lace tablecloths, bolts of shimmery fabric, darling striped straws, pearls, gems, etc.  When we sent out the invitation we asked that guests get onto Pinterest for ideas for the potluck dishes they would bring.  They did not disappoint us.  Just look at that darling crab tuna salad sandwich and the orange boats sitting on an ocean of J-ello.  It made lunch SOOOO fun.  The next potluck is scheduled for early next month.

Credit:  J-ello- Lindsey M., Crab tuna sandwiches- Courtney V.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

store bought favorite: guaca salsa and new diet plan!

Let me tell you about my new diet (until I grow tired of it): YUMM bowls and blueberries.  I am not a dieter rather I believe in eating how my body wants me to eat...and this is what my body wants me to eat right now.  Delicious, healthy food.  A few months ago I gained some weight and decided to get back on track with my CRAZY exercise program (see  Turbo Fire here).  I simultaneously started eating YUMM bowls because they're filling and super healthy.  Man, what a difference!
I start with 3/4 cup brown jasmine rice and 3/4 cup shredded chicken or grilled chicken.  Then I add all sorts of fresh delicious things like red peppers, sweet corn, olives, sauteed mushrooms (anything goes!), cilantro and a variety of sauces.  I started with Yumm sauce and light sour cream but have expanded to include enchilada sauce (red or green) and now this amazing guaca salsa- my new favorite sauce!!  Then I help myself to a bowl of freshly picked blueberries and milk for dessert.

store bought favorite: rita's guaca salsa
ingredients: tomatillos, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, vinegar, garlic and spices
serving size: 2 tablespoons, 0.5 grams fat, 20 calories

Monday, July 15, 2013

apricot pineapple jam

Last month a friend from high school that I hadn't seen in 11 years (okay, I'll admit it has been WAY longer since I left high school but I won't admit just HOW LONG).  When she came to visit with her husband and kids whom I'd never met, she brought me some homemade jam.  My son is a PB&J fan and LOVES this jam so I am so happy Sandi shared this recipe with me which was passed down from her Grandpa.  Although I think I missed apricot season I anticipate the next time I can get my hands on some fresh apricots to make some.

apricot pineapple jam (my friend Sandi was given this recipe from her Grandpa)
3 1/2 pounds apricots (5-6 cups finely chopped, unpeeled apricots)
lemon, juiced
1 can pineapple in rings
4 1/2 cups sugar
box of Sure Jell pectin (Sandi uses the "for less" or "no sugar" recipe with sugar)

Measture 5 cups prepared apricots into a 6 or 8 quart pot.  Squeeze about 2 tablespoons lemon juice over the apricots.
Take the pineapple rings out of the can reserving the juice they come in.  Cut the rings into roughly 1/2 inch squares and add it to the pot.
Pour about 1/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice in and mix it all together.
Stir the pectin into the prepared fruit in the pot.
Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in sugar.  Bring to full rolling boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads.  Cover with two-piece lids  Screw bands tightly.  Place jars on elevated rack in canner.  Process 10 minutes.  Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.  After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger.
Put it on the stove in a large saucepan, stirring often until everything looks nicely blended together, about 10 minutes.  If the apricots don't look like they are breaking down or your pineapple chunks are too big,  take a potato masher to them.