week 4 (about a week late)

Week 4 started a little rough as I developed a cold Sunday afternoon and by Monday am was feeling yucky. Juiced normal and went for the brothy foods for the day. The dress I bought for the Sept wedding is now officially to big in the top…Plan to order the next size down and just hold on to both of them.

I was going strong with juice a few times in the day and then would have a veggie forward snack and meal. But then I went camping Thursday am…I did juice about a gallon of juice and did great Thursday and Friday. Saturday am had some juice and then it was done. I still focused on veggie forward food sand tried to keep the water up. But It was cooking around a campfire and there was drinking. So after a breakfast of bacon, bacon and beans Sunday and stopping at Culvers on the way home…Let’s say Sunday not my finest food day.

I am mid way through week 5 weight is same, but I have fallen off the juice wagon, have been to busy and didn’t have juice items in the house. So have the goal of Sunday to start a 3 day cleanse to kick-start my daily juice plan.

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Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree

Sunday may be the day of rest for some but for me its working remotely in the am and fun with peaches in the afternoon. I rarely ever like to do the same item every year. There are some staples I do but usually like to mix it up. Last year in was peaches in brandy, peach ginger jam and well that’s it. This year we have a bumper crop of basil so am thinking a peach-basil preserve, peach honey and maybe peaches in brandy…that’s a lot of peach peeling:).

Ok so what I ended up making was peach quarters in in a white wine syrup. I made 4 quarts of the beauties and used some white wine I had in the cellar. A few years ago my aunt had a bumper crop of concord white grapes. I ended up with 30+lbs. A friend of mine who does beer/wine/mead took half and made wine. Viola 2 yrs later I have this dry white with a very grapey nose. These peaches gonna me tasty in a few months. Btw I left the skins on all the peaches…I used the bruised for the preserves and the perfect ones for the wine. I still have 15 or so peaches left.

I used the below chart for my proportions:

Peachesweights are always approximated.. Pint1-1/4 lbs Quart2-1/2 lbs
Wine 3/4 cup 1-1/2 cups
Sugar 1/4 cup 1/2 cup
Waterbath Processing
25 minutes 30 minutes

I used 3/4 white wine and 1/4 Prichards Peach mango Rum

I left the skins on as I did the same last few times when I made brandy peaches. I like the color they lend.


Peach Basil Preserves (pectin free): glorious amber color, lemony and laced with subtle basil reminders. delicious one its own or with cheese and crackers or used as a chutney/glaze for pork. yield 12 cups of preserves

4bs of peaches (weight after pitting, removing any blemishes and chopping up)

1lb of grated apples skin on I used plum pulp from juicing plums for plum honey.

4 cups sugar (organic, raw or white )

3 lemons zest and juice

3 large sprigs of basil

1 tbl ground ginger or 3 tbl grated fresh ginger

1 cup brown sugar (optional)

Mix peaches, apples, ginger, sugar and basil together in large non reactive bowl and cover. Leave to em to party it up while cooking something else ohhh like bacon…..that’s what I did , I made this twisted candy bacon that was too die for.

About an hour later add in your lemon juice and zest and toss your gloopy peach mess into a pot and bring to a low simmer. Once it has simmered enough that the basil is wilted, taste it and decide if you have enough basil flavor or if you want it stronger. If it fine remove the basil and toss or can be left in for more time. I like to add a leaf to the jar when adding the preserves for color and bit more flavor. But didn’t this time because my basil is mighty strong this year.

Find another task to keep you occupied but nearby for the 2 hours. I cleaned the shelves on my lazy susan and watched a new episode of Alphas. Just keep stirring the pot after about an hour taste it and decide if you want to add the brown sugar. I felt it needed some depth, so I did.

Once it seems thick and ready, I usually put some on a plate toss it in the freezer for 1 minute or so. once cool if it sets well then you’re ready.  Place in jars with 1/2 inch head space and process in water bath for 10-15 min depending on size of jars.


*If you are new to canning here is a guide for using a water bath.

*I used the basic 1 cup sugar per 1 lbs fruit ratio so paring this recipe down is easy peasy

*With this recipe I yielded: 7 1/2 pint and 4 12oz jelly jars.

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sugar plum fairie

My step mother’s neighbor has a plum tree and pear tree that grow TONS of fruit. Last year he gave me 30lbs plus of each fruit. I made pear butter, pear honey, pear brown sugar jam, pear infused booze, plum wine, plum jams, plum puree to freeze for drinks etc..

It is that time again. Came home from her place with 15lbs of plums and picked up 25lbs of peaches @ the farmers market. With money very tight this summer and me growing less in the yard, I wasn’t planning on putting much food up bu there i am. I did tell my faithful jam followers to get those jars back and to donate sugar as I am broke and canning for the family isnt cheap.


I am looking for quick and easy  so today I am doing whole plums in honey syrup. Quick and easy ready to be used for baking or ready for smooching up over yogurt or ice cream. I used this recipe for reference. But chose to go with some grated whole nutmeg in the syrup and a little vanilla. I did 5 quarts as i still have peaches to do this weekend and my youngest (Diego), went to her house today and will be bringing another load of fruit back.


Whole Plums Preserved in Honey Syrup


  • 1 1/2 cups of honey
  • 4 cups of water
  • enough plums to fill four quart jars
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, a vanilla bean sliced into four pieces or four star anise bits( I used grated whole nutmeg into the syrup)


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and water and bring to a boil.
  2. Bring a canning pot or large stock pot to a boil. Put your lids into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Clean canning jars and pack the plums in as tightly as you can. Insert your cinnamon stick, vanilla bean or star anise. Fill jars with honey syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  4. Wipe rims to remove all traces of any spilled honey syrup, apply lids and tightened rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes (starting time when the pot returns to a boil after the jars have been placed inside).
  5. When processing time is up, remove the jars to a cutting board or towel-lined countertop (as they cool and seal, they might spit out a bit of sticky syrup, so don’t let them cool on any surface that can’t handle that). Let the jars cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
  6. When jars are completely cool, remove the rings, check the seals and wipe the jars down to remove any sticky residue. Label and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.


The next item I wanted to give a try was plum honey. No honey is in the recipe but it has the texture and color of honey. The pear honey I made last year is like crack. It was the one thing everyone has asked me to make again. That and apple butter. So I figure why not make some version of plum and peach honey.

I’m doing a very method for the plume. I’m juicing them adding sugar and reducing until the right viscosity. This is a test recipe so will be a smaller batch. I’m saving the juice pulp left overs to add to jam as plum skins are full of pectin.

I took

6 cups plum juice

3 cups sugar

reduce until consistency of honey and  can into hot jars and water bath for 10 minutes.

I ended up with 4 cups of plum honey.


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3 weeks!!! 21 days….

It’s been 3 weeks and I feel strong about what Im doing. I have no deadline or weight goal. I’m just going to go with it hopefully until Labor day. I havent really envisioned what my daily diet will be after that but pretty sure I may juice in the am instead of coffee maybe even mid day when I like it. Cold weather will be more of a challenge but we will see.

This will be my last daily post as canning season is here and I rather post lovely pics of yummy food than talk about juice. I will be doing weekly snapshots of my progress and am nervous as I am going camping next thurs-sun and ummm well taking the juicer is a no.

morning weigh in: I am down .8lb almost to a total of 11lbs down. Guess i was at a plateau and am dropping some again.


16oz warm water with lemon

16oz carrot, pineapple, ginger

16oz: kale, chard, zucchini, cucumber, pineapple

sauteed mushroom and zucchini and a veggie burger

blue moon beer and half a pretzel at Chicago fire game

have a date tonight so I know we are going to dinner am hoping to steer them to thai food. then its off to a Chicago Fire game!

water, water, water

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20th day and I swear Im back on the wagon

Ok a few days of eating mid day and I feel so guilty. Funny because I am actually not eating that much but have become acclimated to not eating solids until at least 4pm and that is a light veggie forward dinner.

weigh in: doing good considering I have eaten more the last 2 days but then I was way more active both days with miles of walking and working out both days. Me and young son carrying the 25lb box of peaches from the farmers market along with the 12lbs of produce the 1.4 mile walk home yesterday was tiring!

effects: all good here


16oz warm water with lemon

16oz: carrot,plum, honeydew, ginger

16oz: swiss chard, celery, cucumber, 1/2 apple, 1/2 cucumber, ginger

16oz: spinach, beet, 1/2 apple, 1/2 cucmber, orange

handful of rice chips

stir fry portabello, broccoli and tofu with garlic, ginger, spicy yum yum

piece of sharp cheddar cheese


water, water, water

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nineteen…nin nin ninteen

well I think after this week it’s time to go to weekly posts on my lifestyle challenge…so many better things I can be posting recipes, rants, knitting projects and the foils of dating

weigh in: considering what felt to me like a day of gluttony…I am finally dropped down  below the 10lb mark so have lost…10.2 lbs so exiting and not made in less than 3 weeks.



16oz water with lemon

16oz beet,kale, celery, zucchini, apple

and then tripped into food day…

I enjoyed today salty homemade tortilla chips with hot yummy salsa and 1/4 of a burrito

later more chips and guacamole , 2oz left over skirt steak and 7 raisinets.

again doesn’t look like much written down but I was stuffed .

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Making a minecraft cake


My son for his 15 yo b-day asked for a cake like the one in minecraft ( a video game). I have made a b-day cake for my family and friends when they ask. Either I design one for that person or they can request one. This was one of the most labor intensive cakes ever…..

First I started with research I finally found a video which seemed to be what he wanted (he of course had to watch to make sure it was right kind of cake).

I made this red velvet recipe into 3- 8×8 pans the night before.

While the cake was baking I made this homemade fondant recipe using marshmallows. I am classically trained and pastry was my first love. I haven’t dealt with fondant going on 20 yrs and while I think this fondant worked I still prefer the classic method. and ill tell you if you live in an urban area go to a party city they sell fondant and gel dyes…


the next day I made a coconut cream cheese frosting I didn’t like the proportions of the original so doctored my up a bit.

8oz cream cheese soft

8oz butter soft

cream together in mixer until smooth

add 3-4cups powdered sugar mix until smooth (taste for level of sweet remember fondant is pure sugar)

2 cups sweetened flake coconut.


place one cake square on platter or in my case foil covered cookie sheet. use frosting to make 3 layer square cake. frost top and sides place in fridge to set.

pull out fondant and let soften and bit and warm up. If you didn’t color a small amount red and some brown do this now. Remember with the marshmallow fondant its powdered sugar that keeps it from sticking for the store bought it lard/butter.

the video lays out how the do the fondant pretty well. I had the b-day boy place the red squares and then it was done. We popped in fridge until after dinner.

He was so happy with the cake I got many I love yous and you are so awesome.I was told I met the cake challenge this year fantastically. It was very sweet and dense and moist. I skipped eating the fondant but the cake and coconut was delish!


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