Sunday, June 19, 2011

Farmers Market

The Birmingham Farmers Market is a really nice little market just north of downtown Birmingham.  They have great local fruit and vegetables like Chilton Co. peaches, big watermelons and cantaloupe, and fresh tomatoes and okra.  

This photo courtesy of Alabama Farmers Market website.

We stopped by the Farmers Market this weekend to get ingredients for fresh peach salsa (tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, peaches, cilantro, garlic, etc.). We also picked up a cantaloupe and enough tomatoes for a Caprese dish.    

I took some fresh basil I am growing, a slice of mozzarella cheese, and a slice of the fresh Farmers Market tomato and topped it with a homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bird and Flower Design Door Mat

 I bought this cute door mat from Old Time Pottery, which is an amazing, huge store with great things and low prices, not to sound like a commercial... but it's true. I got this door mat for $2.99 and am using it out on my porch where we spend a lot of time.  I love the bird and flower graphic.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Strawberry Jam

When I was growing up my grandma, then my mom, made homemade strawberry jam.  We'd eat roll-up pancakes (delicious crepe-like pancakes made by making normal Bisquick pancake batter but adding an extra egg and about a cup of milk extra, too) and we'd smother them with the strawberry jam. I decided to try to make my own jam!  I used SURE-JELL's Quick-and-Easy Freezer Jam and Jelly Recipe. I was nervous about my first batch, but here it is!

So the first thing to do was prepare all the ingredients and sterilize the jars and lids. I stemmed and cut the strawberries to make them easier to crush.  

I then boiled the jars and lids to sterilize them and put them on a dish towel until I was ready to ladle jam into the jars.

I could eat the whole bowl of delicious, vibrant red strawberries...mmmm.....

I unfortunately don't have a any sort of masher to crush the strawberries so I had to use a glass....jankity, I know... Anyway, here is me crushing the strawberries one layer at a time to make sure they are even and boiling the lids also. 

Here are the strawberries mashed and mixed with the sugar and pectin - ready to be ladled into the jars.

The final product!! 
I filled 10 - 8 oz. jars with the jam (leaving the top 1" empty).  I will admit that I messed up my first batch a little.  I added more sugar than I was supposed to for the amount of strawberries I ended up with.  It still tastes very well but is a little thicker and grainier than it should be.  Next time, I'll know what to do, though, and it's great to have eight jars of jam in the freezer!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Fern......

This is a little nest with two baby birds we just found in the Boston Fern on my porch! We had a couple of birds flying around and hanging out in our two ferns, and when we switched the ferns we noticed the birds got a little antsy.  We didn't really know that anything was in there until Danny was watering the ferns and looked into the center to see two little birds staring back at him.  We got these great photos with an iPhone 4!