The Burlington Hotel Cafe ~ Port Costa, California

We had a mini-vacation last weekend…headed to San Francisco on Friday and then spent the night in Port Costa at the Burlington Hotel.

The best part was the Cafe on the first floor of the hotel…Saturday morning in a small cozy cafe drinking tea and coffee and munching on sweet cornbread, with honey, right out of the oven. The owners and staff were a delight and a few of the local folks that wandered in and out were entertaining.

We definitely want to go back.

Blackberry picking in NW Nevada…

I finally have enough blackberry juice to make some jelly! YEA! I have 5 cups now. Soon I will be making some Wild Nevada Blackberry jelly!

Blackberry plants are nasty buggers! (((In my best Holy Grail voice))) They have NASTY, BIG, POINTY TEETH! My right arm and both legs are scratched up…berry berry badly.

I think there’s about a month of berry picking in my spot…there’s lots of green berries still.

Jelly ~ Beautiful Autumn Grape Jellies!

I was busy making jelly Friday night and Saturday afternoon…using up all of that grape juice I made from my sister’s and neighbor’s grapes.

Beautiful Autumn colored jellies ~ no?

(Grape Jellies clockwise from top left: lemon & ginger, pomegranate, apple cider, red grape)

Here’s the finished product ~ 10 1/2 pints and 4 pints of red grape jelly; 9 1/2 pints of grape with lemon & ginger; 8 1/2 pints of grape & apple cider; and 8 1/2 pints of grape & pomegranate. I also made 6 1/2 pints of red raspberry wine jelly and 8 1/2 pints of carrot cake jam (this time I added more yummy spices).


Carrot Cake on top…raspberry wine on the bottom.

Basic recipe I used for the grape jellies ~ bring to boil 5 cups of homemade grape juice (1/2 grape and 1/2 other juice with the others) with one box of pectin, once at a rolling boil add 6 cups of sugar. Once you’re at a rolling boil again…stir for 1 minute (but here in Sparks, NV I found TWO MINUTES is better). Scrap off foam and pour into prepared canning jars. Can in water bath for your altitude. 20 minutes for me 4500 feet.

Weekend of Jam & Jelly Making

I had the pleasure of a weekend by myself! Husband went down to Carson City to a friends house to watch the extreme fight on PPV so I had from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon for just ME!

I decided to make some jams…had half a flat of blueberries from the farmer’s market to use up. Made Blueberry-Lemon jam, Blueberry Jam, Strawberry Daiquiri Jam (had a whole flat of frozen strawberries in the outside freezer), and then saw I had the makings for Jalapeno Pepper jelly, so I made it too. I’m starting my Christmas presents early. 🙂

Lucy kept me company while Leo slept upstairs most of the day.

I love the jalapeno jelly ~ very pretty (tasty too, I already started eating that one)…I used green jalapenos and an orange bell pepper. Recipe was simple, peppers, cider vinegar, sugar, and pectin.

Just used the water bath for the jams…

And read the whole instruction manual for my new canner ~ a 16 quart Presto Pressure Canner.

Can’t wait to try it out! I plan on canning stews/soups, veggies, salsas, and meats when they go on sale.

Margarita & Strawberry Daiquiri Jam

Ok…so last night while the pizza was in the oven and I had the Monday Night Football pre-game show on…and a margarita on the rocks in hand ~ I made up the last two jams I had started on Sunday. Let me tell ya…one should probably wait to drink the margarita until after the canning process is in the water bath stage, especially one made by myself. 🙄

Anyhoo ~ the recipes used asked for liquid pectin and I’ve never used that before. So I was a little disheartened when I took the jars out of the water bath and the jams were still very runny looking. 😥 The only thing that made me feel better was the wonderful sound of canning lids tinging and binging away in the kitchen.

This morning as I stumbled to the kitchen to feed the cats I picked up the jars and looked at them…after focusing my eyes I noticed they jelled up…into a gooey gelatinous goopy glop. In other words…kid snot or that slime from that 80’s show You Can’t Do That On Television. 😮 I set it back down and thought I’d better go take a shower first, maybe it’ll look better then. After the shower the verdict was still out…although it didn’t look as bad as it did at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. I’m not sure I like the liquid pectin. I’ll check again after I get home from work. I must say they both smelled great and the licker was very tasty!

UPDATE: Margarita Jam definitely jelled…looks like jello. Strawberry Daiquiri is more jam like.

Jam on the left is the Strawberry Daiquiri and the one on the right is the Margarita Jam.

The Strawberry Daiquiri has crushed strawberries, crushed pineapple, rum, fresh lime juice, sugar and liquid pectin. The Margarita Jam has fresh lime juice, lime zest, tequila, triple sec, water, sugar, and liquid pectin. My margarita was made in my Guinness pint glass with ice, 1/3 full of tequila, margarita mix, a splash of fresh lime juice and a slice of lime…with salt. 😀

Both recipes came from 175 Best Jams, Jellies, and Marmalades by Linda J. Amendt, one of two books I bought earlier in the year when I put my garden in. The other is Canning & Preserving for Dummies ~ GREAT Dill Pickle recipe and Jalapeno Pepper jelly recipe in that one.

Weekend Ramblings ~ jams, knotting, and a movie

While my husband was down in Carson City helping some friends move, I pulled out the mangos and jalapenos for a jam session! 😉

OMGosh! I made some AWESOME jam, if I say so myself!

I peeled and cut up 8 large mangos; roasted, peeled and diced 10 jalapenos (both green and red, wanted some color) and 2 Hatch green chiles; added some sugar and pectin and boiled away. I got 9 half-pint jars out of the batch with 1/2 cup leftover that I devoured with some Wheat Thins.

Here is the makings for my next batch of jam ~ Margarita Jam! I’ll have to have a shot for good luck. 8)

Smashed 5-1/2 cups of strawberries for another batch of jam I have planned ~ Strawberry Daiquiri jam. Need to get a small bottle of rum for that one. Don’t drink rum, so I do not have any on hand in the house.

I finished the shark’s tooth necklace and started in on another necklace for the other kiddo. Not sure who is getting which one, so I made them both beach themed. I had a 1″ round handmade bead (I can’t remember who made it! I think it’s off of etsy) with a sea turtle…so I knotted 20-pound hemp into a spiral necklace.

Finally saw Wall-E that was showing at the Grand Sierra ($3 movies) yesterday afternoon. I’m hoping that I’m not the only one who was tearing up over that silly little animated robot when he didn’t recognize Eve at first. Sheesh. And I absolutely loved the wee cleaning robot! LOL!