Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nights Out

Just catching up on some recent outings I've had lately. Like John and I going to NIOSA. I had gotten free tickets and John just HAPPENED to get off on time that day so off we went!


I met up with a sketchy character.


John didn't exactly appreciate it.


Then I ran into an old friend from college.


I totally asked to borrow his taser so I got tase John.

We pretty much ate all foods on a stick once again and then hung out in Irish Flats listening to the dirty old Irish guys sing.


Last weekend I traveled up to Austin for a DSP event.



Finally last week, Karl celebrated his 30th birthday at Pat O'Brien's.





The Piano players did a great job of harassing him all night which even included a trip on stage.


Cookie time!




The piano player as Elton John.



That's just a bit of what I've been up to lately.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wine Tasting

The other week I got invited to go with a group of friends to a wine tasting fundraiser. It was amazing!


Nothing beats a table full of glasses waiting to be filled.

Our menu for the evening.


The food was amazing although really tiny.


The best part of the night? They would leave FULL bottles on the table after each pouring.


It eventually got a little hard to keep up with our own refills also happening.


It was a lot of fun, for a good cause and a lot of money was raised. The funniest part of the night was when I discovered the full length mirror in stall behind the toilet.


At first all I could think was that it was the weirdest thing, but then I noticed the stalls were quite roomy and that I bet some great sex may have been had in one of them!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oyster Bake

Last weekend was Oyster Bake. We worked the beer booth as usual



and ate all the usual foods.







We had the usual fun






and saw the usual craziness.




Go Spurs Go!



To end the day we rode the scariest ride EVER.


First you hike yourself up onto the bicycle like seat that totally kills your crotch. It hurt!



Then you take off.


You're doing ok at first.


Until you start to do a face dive towards the ground and can barely stay on the tiny bicycle seat your crotch is balancing on and suddenly realize that they didn't really check the harness around your upper body and that there was no extra seat belt type thingy that is usually on this ride as a failsafe when when the harness gives out and the only thing to hold on to are the little pegs that are facing the wrong way if the harness were to open up which means you will most definitely die on this ride.


That's my "Please let me live through this Jerry-Rigged Carnie ride" face.

I think I was the only one that thought this ride was not cool.


After my first plunge towards the ground I seriously kept my eyes closed the whole time and screamed bloody murder. I love scary rides, especially when the bottom drops out, but all I could think on this one is "please let me live through this." It scared the crap outta me.

Oh, John also won me an angry bird. He looks like I felt after that ride. "Totally not cool man."


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Strawberry Jam

John and I picked 14 pounds on strawberries on my birthday. I turned them into 7 half pints and 6 pints of jam.

This is the recipe that I use. It's full of a lot of helpful hints that I'm not including here. The Pick Your Own site is also a great resource for farms in your area, canning how-to's and a TON of great recipes.

This is my first time canning on the new stove. I did a lot of research when I bought the stove to make sure I could can on a flat top. What you really need is at least a 12 inch burner. You can find a canner that's this size, but it's hard, more expensive and you can't can as much as once. So I found a stove that allows you to go 2 inches larger than the burner. Sometimes this can damage the stove or the element won't work properly so make sure that your stove allows for this.

You also need to have a flat bottom canner. Again, this is more costly, but I improvised. The graniteware canner that's common is light weight, but ridged on the bottom so it won't heat properly. If you don't get the right amount of heat your jars won't process. I went out and bought a 32 quart tamale steamer for less than $20.


The rack on the bottom allows you to set your jars on there in place of the traditional basket in other canners.

To make a batch of jam you'll need about 5 pounds of strawberries or about 10 cups whole berries.


Be sure to wash and then hull them. I'm lazy and just chop the tops off of them.


If you'd like you can use a potato masher to mash up your strawberries, but I just take my immersion blender to it and leave some nice chunks in it - the chunks are up to you. You need to have 5 cups smashed strawberries for your jam.


Once your strawberries are nice and mashed it's time to add sugar and pectin. Lots of sugar, but that's what makes jam taste so good.


Now I actually use the no sugar pectin with 4 cups of sugar as opposed to the regular pectin with 7 cups of sugar. I've made jam both ways and cannot tell the difference. If you can make it with less sugar then go for it. I have had some trouble finding the no sugar pectin at times though. Of course you can use the no sugar version, with no sugar, but I have not actually done that. The recipe I use says it can make the jam runny and dark.

Mix your sugar and pectin well and bring to a boil for good minute.


Then you'll need to skim off any foam off the top. I usually have a lot of foam so good luck. Foam won't kill you, it just doesn't taste as good.

Then take your sanitized jars out. Some people put theirs in the canner, but because we have hard water that leaves deposits in and on everything I sanitize mine in my dishwasher. You just have to time it right so they get washed and sanitized and then are nice and warm when it comes to pull them out. You don't want to put hot liquid into cold jars.


Then put your jam into the jars.


Be sure to wipe the lip of the jars so that you get a good seal.


It's a crap picture, but take your lids that you've been sanitizing in boiling water and place them and the rings on the jars making sure that you get a good seal.


Then put your jars into the canner.



Jam processes here in boiling water in just 5 minutes. So when they're done pull them out to cool.


You'll hear little popping sounds while the jars seal themselves and you can always press down on the lid to make sure it doesn't pop up. Some take a little longer than others. If you have one that doesn't seal you can just stick it in the fridge to use right away.

So that's how you do strawberry jam! I actually did two batches to get all of mine. You don't want to make more than one batch at a time because there's a good chance the jam won't set.

Popular Posts

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP