Posts filed under ‘General Info, Tips, & DIYs’

Wild Plum Jam


Jam making isn’t hard, but to keep the jars shelf-stable, you’ll need to process them in a hot-water bath. There’s lots on the web about canning and jar sterilization, so please be sure to do your research before you dive in.

6 cups plums, chopped and pitted
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (3-ounce) package fruit pectin

Cook the plums and water in a large pot over medium heat until it comes to a boil
stir in the sugar and bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil
add pectin and lemon juice and return to full boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly
turn off the heat

Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head room at the top
wipe the rims and threads of the jars clean and seal with lids and bands (be sure not to over tighten the bands)
lower the sealed jars into the boiling-water bath
process the filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes
remove jars, tighten the bands a little bit (be careful, they are hot)
now listen for the distinctive and satisfying pop the lids make when the vacuum forms in the jars

Label with flavor and date before you store in your pantry

August 26, 2019 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Loquat Jam


My friend Cy has a loquat tree and this year has been very fruitful … heh. You may be asking “what’s a loquat?” It’s defined as a small yellow egg-shaped acidic fruit, from an Asian evergreen that’s of the rose family, also known as a Japanese Plum.


I will admit I went into this project blind, having absolutely no experience with loquat jam. It truly is a labor of love and well worth all the effort that goes into it. Loquats have very large seeds, sometimes as many as 4, and a thick skin. All which need to be removed from the tasty flesh.

8 cups prepared loquat flesh
4 cups sugar
5-6 tablespoons standard pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons additional flavoring, optional (vanilla or cardamom)

To prepare loquats for jam, wash the fruit, remove the seeds, then cook the flesh with a splash of water until softened. Once soft, use a food mill to remove the skins. Note: Next time, and there will be a next time, I’m going to skip this step of removing the skins and process the jam with an immersion blender once cooked. I’ll edit this recipe if there’s success.

Canning supplies
8 or so  6-ounce canning jars, with new lids and bands
canning funnel (optional)
1 large (non reactive) pot for jam making
another large pot for canning

Sterilize the jars and lids. I recommend an internet search for complete how-to instructions on canning.

Stir the pectin into the sugar and set aside.

In a large pot over high heat bring the fruit, lemon juice, and maybe a splash of water to a boil
stir in sugar and pectin mixture
continue to stir as the sugar dissolves
bring to a full and rolling boil (it’s really hot, be very careful)
stir continuously for 1 minute (set a timer)
turn off heat
fill the jars, cap and refrigerate or process jars for safe keeping


June 29, 2018 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment



aka zucchini noodles

Yes, zoodles… seriously, it’s a thing. Watching what one eats causes all sorts of cravings, as so many of us know. The other day mine was ramen. Yup, ramen. Don’t judge. This craving caused me to do some research, discovering recipes with zoodles. So, off I went to purchase a vegetable spiralizer and a zucchini. Much to my surprise, it actually worked!

April 28, 2016 at 2:11 am 2 comments

Dog Biscuits

dog biscuits.jpg

Recipe #1
1 teaspoon bouillon granules
2 cups wheat flour
3/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 egg

Recipe  #2
2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup bacon grease, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup water

Recipe #3
1 cup water
1 teaspoon granulated bouillon
2 cups wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg

For each individual recipe combine the ingredients and mix until it forms a dough
place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tight
allow to rest in the refrigerator

Preheat oven to 350℉

Roll the dough out, on a well floured surface, like any other dough
cut out your favorite shapes (I used a different shape for each flavor)
place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet
bake for 30 minutes

December 17, 2015 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Homemade Caramel Coffee Creamer


I have a serious weakness for caramel flavored coffee. This version is most likely not cheaper than those available in the diary aisle, but it will be fresher and better tasting.

3 1/2 cups dairy (half and half, heavy cream, light cream, milk, or a combination of any of these)
1/3 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 cup of caramel pieces (or 3/4 cup caramel sauce)
1 tablespoon vanilla
container for creamer

Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan
heat until caramel is completely melted
allow to cool until warm
pour into container and refridgerate

November 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm 2 comments

Fun with Mason Jars

mason jars

  1. Bento-style container. Perfect for brown-bag lunches. Use a wide-mouth jar with plastic insert for dip, spread, or dressing. Insert comes from Kozy Shack reduced calorie pudding.
  2. Sippy cup for cold drinks. This is made by drilling a hole into a standard or wide-mouth lid and inserting a small rubber gasket to cover the sharp edges.
  3. Dry-pour spout. Cut the metal spout and surrounding cardboard from a box of salt and insert it into a standard rim. I’ve also seen it done with the spout from the top of a round salt box.
  4. Wet-pour spout. Cut the plastic spout and surrounding cardboard from a milk or juice carton and insert it into a standard rim.

February 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Charging Station

A DIY project for the compulsively neat and tidy. My charging needs are much smaller than the projects I found online. Here is my result.

As you can see, all this is is a paper covered shoe box with some holes cut into it. Nothing fancy, but very functional.

DSCN1864-002 DSCN1865-002 DSCN1867-002 DSCN1871-002

February 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm 2 comments

Onion Dip

onion dip

This is seriously one of my guiltiest pleasures. Pre-made store bought never did it for me and the box mix… well, you know…

2 onions, sliced very thin (I use my mandolin)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (if you use Vidalia or Maui, skip)
dash of chili powder (optional)
salt and pepper

Slice the onions
heat butter and oil in a large pan
add onions, garlic, salt, and sugar
mix well, lower heat, and cook and toss until well browned (about 15 minutes)

Mix sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, and caramelized onions
season to taste with more salt and some pepper
chill for at least 1 hour before serving

January 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

My attempt at vertical gardening


So I thought I had this really great original idea. Well, in the end, not such much. But I’m giving it a try just the same.

I have a very small garden, and most of that is always in shade. I thought I’d take advantage of the one unused and sunny spot by planting a small vertical garden using a dollar-store shoe bag attached to the basement stair railing. Not growing a lot, some herbs, lots of lettuce, a few patio-variety tomato plants, strawberries, snow peas, and one tiny Thai chili plant. My biggest concern is not yield, it’s forgetting to water on a regular basis, once the novelty has worn off.

I’m already having thoughts of making a pasta and scallop dish using all those wonderful tiny tomatoes come July!

May 8, 2013 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Chocolate Syrup

chocolate syrup

This is not hot fudge, and yes, there is a difference. A teaspoon or two makes great chocolate milk.

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Dissolve cocoa powder with water in a saucepan
heat through
add the sugar, and stir to dissolve
boil for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly

Be careful, do not step away, or let it get too hot, it WILL boil over!

Add the salt and the vanilla
let cool and pour into a clean glass jar

This recipe make two cups
store in the refrigerator

May 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

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