Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Driving the new Mastercraft!

I've never had a summer that didn't consist of me spending countless hours on the lake.  My family has always had a cabin at a lake about 20 minutes from our home, so every Friday during the summer we make the trip up, spend the weekend with family and friends, and then make the drive back home on Sunday night.  As a kid, my two best friends also had cabins at the lake, so this only child always had someone to play with!  Tubing, skiing, "painting the dock" with water and a paintbrush, diving contests, playing in the paddle boat, jetskis, and swimming for hours--those words conjure up the image of summer as a kid to me. We've always had a ski boat too, but I never had any interest in learning to drive it. I much preferred doing activities behind the boat or, as I got older, sitting on the pontoon boat and being driven around while I listened to music and read a book or magazine.

My 11 year old cousin has been dying to get a Mastercraft Wakeboard boat for over a year. He's even been to the Mastercraft factory and gotten to see how they are made! So, my dad finally caved and ended up buying a white and blue Mastercraft X45 for us to enjoy! Its huge--enough seating capacity for 18 people! Anyway, I now have incentive to learn to drive the new boat...that way I can take it out with friends through the week while my family is at work! So, on Sunday afternoon (my first time on the new boat) after riding around and soaking up some sun, I took the wheel and started learning how to handle it. I've still got to figure out how to park it though.....

Welcome, Summer 2011!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam

Growing up, no peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted better to me than one that was made with Strawberry Freezer Jam.  It instantly made my sandwiches (cut into triangles, not squares) taste better, simply knowing it was made by my Mimi and Momma.  Now, having made it with them, I realize why its SO good...it has TONS of sugar! This Strawberry Jam is a yearly tradition in our family, and it just so happens that we made it last night.  It is perfect for sandwiches, biscuits, toast, or to put on top of ice cream, and is guaranteed to be delicious. 

You Need:
  • Fresh Strawberries (really fresh ones, preferably bought in flats, not in a grocery store)
  • Sugar (we use Domino's Brand)
  • SureGel (several boxes, depending on how much you're planning on making)
  • Canning Jars (mason jars with lids, pint jars, quart jars, etc)
  • A Potato Masher
  • Two Large Bowls
  • Measuring Cup 
First, wash and cap 4 Cups of Strawberries (try to only take the very tops off of the berries...the more berry you include the better) and place into a large bowl.  Mash the strawberries with a potato masher (we don't make them completely mushy...we like to have some good pieces of strawberry in the jam). Add 8 Cups (yes, 8 Cups..told you it was good!) of sugar to the strawberries in the bowl and stir together.  Let them stand for about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, bring 1.5 Cups of water and 2 packages of SureGel to a boil (leave boiling for 1 minute).  Once the SureGel/Water mixture has boiled for 1 minute, add it into the bowl of strawberries and sugar.  Stir together with a big spoon for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture doesn't feel grainy (the sugar should pretty much dissolve).

Pour the mixture into the containers (using a 1 Cup Measuring Cup to dip the mixture and pour helps), cover, and let stand overnight.  Then store in the freezer until opened. After opening, store in the refrigerator!

We made several "runs" of the recipe...now we have enough freezer jam for my grandparents, parents, aunt/uncle/cousin, and me for a year! 

New Project

I've been done with school for 9 days now, and I'm already looking for ways to occupy the time I'm not used to having. I've been digging through my mom's recipe box, scouring the internet for craft ideas, and basically looking for things to do.  The weather down south has been much cooler than normal during the week I've been home and I'm going crazy sitting in the house all day.  Sooooooooo....I'm going to chronicle the different things I try this summer (and hopefully beyond, time willing) whether it be cooking, crafting, or a new experience altogether.