Monday, June 25, 2012

Canning - Part Two

 I now have tried a second time at this at of canning & yes I now have jam!! It jellied with the CERTO, I didn't know which one to use, there was liquid & jello type packages, so Bill, feeling my frustration bought all the types, hoping for a successful batch & Happy Wife- Happy Life. LOL
The first batch was with the liquid & those are the dark red tops, the second batch - with the lighter coloured tops, was with the light CERTO  which claims to have 33% less sugar ( the ratio was 6 cups of strawberries & 4 1/2 cups of sugar - the other was 4 cups of strawberries to 7 cups of sugar ) Either way they both looked great & they jellied!!

I'm going to use CERTO from now on - however the strawberry sauce will be good on other things too! Thanks Julia for the idea of pancakes, that one never came to mind, YUM!
Now with the strawberries done & shelved, I'll have to watch to see what else is in season from the local farmers.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Canning Begins - Strawberry Jam

 This weekend was devoted to canning strawberry jam. Off to Heeman Garden Center for a flat of strawberries. These berries are so much smaller than the ones bought at the grocery store, however much tastier in sweetness & oh so red in colour, no green tips on these beauties.
 Washing & hulling until my fingers were wrinkled up from the moisture of the wet berries
 Cutting & mashing came next
 My assembly counter line on this produce line

 Now into the pot for the cooking of the jam, the kitchen smelt heavenly sweet with the strawberries stewing
Now the finished jars, after their bath. Well it happened again...the jam did not firm up to my liking! It's great over ice cream sundaes or spooned into yogurt but for toast, it has to be spooned on. I'm going to try again with another flat & use Certo  in this batch. The recipe I used was mashed strawberries, four cups & equal sugar & 1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice. I boiled it...maybe not long enough. I slowly brought it to a boil, then 15 minutes boiling, it dripped off the spoon from the freezer rather slowly, so I thought I was good to go to the jars, then for 15 minute  bath. I've a much better success rate with Chili Sauce, that's not till the fall though. Mustn't wish my summer away. I will perfect this technique of jam making! All my mentors are on the east coast, thank you for your help yesterday Jean. I'm thinking I rushed through the boiling process with this recipe. I'm using Certo with the next batch...I'm hoping the Kitchen Fairy is with me this time!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HHH & Hot Dogs

Hot, Hazy, & Humid, the three words that describe southwestern Ontario this 1st day of summer.  Wow is it hot today! This is the outside temp without the humidex added in, making it 42 degrees!!
 Squirrel is taking it easy, resting in his 'summer home', a wooden box beneath his batting home. I've been taking out cold grapes for him to snack on, he keeps swinging on his rope for nuts, silly little guy.
 Diesel pants on the kitchen stone floor, the AC is running non stop. Oh my, the hydro bill this month will be high --- for everyone!
Now then there's Boris, the sun worshiper, he loves heat & sun & has asked to be out frequently...just as he settles into his relax mode, I call him into the house. It's just too hot for man or beast today.
 Today, our neighbours are having their new roof installed. Wow those guys must be hot!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Home Again

Well we arrived home again in Canada & now have the memories & a few purchases to look at & smile with the memories that came with them. The fabric shop that had trims, look to the far left of the photo to see what was hanging in my studio for years, a gift from a Hungarian family member, it's a very old piece of ribbon. Then the ribbons I purchased in the village, so familiar to me when I first saw them! The headpiece,  I saw as a table-topper, not a headdress, however Kristyna said on special occasions it could be used on the table. I just love the colours of the ribbons used in their costumes & planned on incorporating them into some of my quilt designs & the larger ones as bell pulls to hang in linear areas, to add a splash of colour to otherwise dull areas, in my home. I also found variegated perele cotton thread for some embroidery projects, again the colours were beautifully bright.
 Mustang leather shoes!! How could I not try on a pair of these! I've been racing Mustang cars since 1999, these are going to get a lot of wear this summer--however not at the track racing, another year away from the track as everyone moves into new careers, apartments, & workplaces. Not to forget my move to the cottage in a month. Even the shoes have fun colours, I just love them!
 My love for sheep made me want this little polyester curtain, it's in my front studio window, so sweet with the embroidered sheep & trees.
Lace curtains were in abundance as I looked at the European buildings, so of to the drapery shop to find me some. After seeing the wee sheep one I saw this wonderful textured one & pointed to it--the shop person brought done the display & in Czech told me it was the last one. Now it hangs in my home at the base of the stairs, a constant reminder for me of this wonderful adventure that I'm now home from.
This morning I made Bill a blueberry pie & as I reached overhead in the cupboard to pull down the cooling rack, the round ceramic Pampered Chef pizza plate rolled out & fell on my big toe, then onto the stone kitchen floor & broke into many pieces! I'm now nursing a very sore toe. I don't think it's broke, just sore--however it will be slowing me down this weekend as a sort myself out with jet-lag of 6 hours.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Czech Republic-Village of Uherske Hradiste

After leaving Vienna we headed to this village, it's the factory's location that Bill had business with. I toured the  village on my own... the next day, while he went to work.  I was so jet-lagged that I slept the 1st day there away - however that next day...what fun & adventure I had!! The village was made up of squares, beautifully cobbled stoned areas. The land of asphalt & concrete of Canada was nowhere to be seen in Uherske Hradiste!  In the squares were monuments & sitting areas. I was caught in rain storms both days, glad you reminded me to take that umbrella Bev! it was used daily till the day I left--which was full sun now for a week after we leave. Oh well you can't control weather, just breathe & take it all in & the sights I saw!! Here we go with the visual tour....
 Huge monument in one of the center squares, just around the corner from our hotel
 Standing at the monument--looking in another direction, yes all cobblestone, done in different stones & designs. Such a visual pleasure to work about.
 Another photo from center monument
 This is a close up of the center of the monument, its been wired & barred---don't know the story. I did try to find a book of the area in English, with no luck. I'll try again on the next trip.
 Old stone walls are everywhere as the ornate buildings, not Vienna although beautifully quaint & the colours!
The red building caught my eye & was on the same street as our hotel(which was a new one)
 The front yards are done with design & colour too & the cobblestone, did I mention the cobblestone lol!
 The entry way to the red building, very few people spoke English. So my inquiry mind does not know! the who's & what's of things, all visual for me too.
 The design of the building & the entry fronts with the ornate work, rounded windows & arched doors, WOW!
 The rain couldn't dampen my awe to this village.

 Top end of the square
 Small specialty shops line the squares with alley's doing the same.
 Evergreens & monuments...small cars everywhere
 I don't know how to say this building in Czech, however it's important, as is the next...
 Many people coming & going from here
 The balcony looks to be a place to make announcements & again the arched windows & door with ornate manly sculptures
 The village art gallery, this is a bronze fountain, just outside
 She looks to be unwinding & coming to life.
 One of the village churches, just a stones throw from the hotel. Church bells ring daily on the 1/4 hour, heard them for 2 days then was so use to them had to listen for them!
 Monument outside the church
 Sidewalks are narrow, nice for hand holding ;-)
 The center sculpture made me chuckle as I viewed it, flower boxes everywhere to, splashes of colour all about
Close up of a corner building starting the square
 See the shops all in a line after the corner, my drapery store was further down. I'll show the curtains next post.
 Yes I found the fabric shop!! Quilting is just beginning there, oh I wish I could stay longer & share the North American art I was introduced to 2004.
 This is Kristyna measuring out traditional ribbon for me to take back to Canada, the shop was called Krojovy textil & I was there twice! She spoke English I told me of the Traditional Dress & Celebrations. I looked for the book she had in Czech, maybe next trip I'll find it.
Between the pillars are the new collection of cottons for quilting.
 Variety of fabrics
 Traditionally dressed dolls
 More fabrics
 She was so helpful & pleasant - behind Kristyna are many ribbons & trims for the area traditional costume.
 Cutting more ribbon for me, this was my last visit to this wonderful shop...I'll be back!
 Slovakia country side as we leave for the Vienna Airport
 Look at this sweet cast iron mailbox in a village in Austra, close to the airport.
Here's Bill in his 1st class pod, no jet lag for him...until tomorrow, when Canada's 6 hour difference catches up to us!