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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blissful Jam

There is currently a blogfeast blogfest going on! And the timing couldn't be better, as I am currently experimenting with cooking for the first time. Around 500 words or less, about food in some way. Could life get any better than this!  Also, as I have been struggling to write about my kitchen-time, this could work!
My first dinner! Caribbean Chicken

I recently moved into a new place. And for some reason, got all excited about cooking.  At 33, I have never really cooked before, or had any interest. I made my first meal, a Caribbean style chicken thing I found online with spinach and fruit. It turned out pretty good, and I was greatly surprised, and encouraged to move forward.  My goal is to learn to cook food that is good, but also nutritious.

This has been an interesting journey.  As you know (since I published Gym Germs), I am a bit of a germaphobe.  And raw meat is OHMYGAWDDISGUSTING.  But I have a box of sugical gloves.  And yes, I wear them when touching raw meat.  Because raw meat is OHMYGAWDDISGUSTING.

Notice the surgical gloves?
However, I could not decide what to make next. I was the proverbial stand-still. Then came the dilemma of my life. (Not my WHOLE LIFE, just of that moment. But sometimes, those moments feel like lifetimes!)

My grandma makes homemade jelly. It is delicious! I crave, I mean crave her blueberry-rhubarb jelly so much that just typing those words right now made my mouth water. There is nothing better in my world that this jelly with peanut butter, butter, or just bread. Even just on a spoon, really. It's that good.

Recently, my parents' stockpiles dried up. They ran out of said jelly. I was devastated.

Off to the grocery I went. (How did I know I wouldn't find it there?)  I have never bought a jar of jelly in my life, I didn't even know where the jelly was! I had to wander up and down isles. Once I found it, I stood in front of the mass jelly jar collection for at least ten minutes. (I probably looked a bit foolish.) I didn't know what to do, which one to pick, what the brand differences were. I examined prices, to see if maybe there would be an obvious difference, surely leading me to the best jelly available. No help.

I left with no jelly.

I went to the health food store, hoping for something, anything, that would resemble homemade.

No dice.


Jelly!  From MY kitchen!
 On a whim, as I do many things, I decided I would make jelly. With one successful meal under my belt, why couldn't I make jelly? I bought rhubarb and blueberries at the farmer's market and got a big stew pot, sugar, sure-jell, and jelly jars.

Suddenly, I have the vision of enterprise in my head. I will sell my amazing jelly! I will market it and be as famous as Smuckers (the brand I saw the most of in the store)! I shall call it Blissful Jam and it will be an instant hit. I designed a logo and a sticker on the computer and printed them out on stickers to put on the jars of my amazing jelly.  Meanwhile, I hadn't even started making it yet...)

My first PBJ!

I made it. It was good.

Little runny, but good.

Maybe not instant-hit-good, but certainly good.
Jessica's son getting the mailed jelly.

So I put the labels on. (Cuteness!) I posted pictures of my jelly on Facebook. I gave jars to my parents, sister, roommate's parents, friends, anyone who would take one. I sent two jars to my grandma and two more to a friend in Tennessee.

The feedback I got was that my jelly is good. My grandma even used the words, "GREAT JOB!"  I am encouraged by this. I continue to cook meals. I have been collecting recipes from friends and have several adventures to take on. If you have a recipe that you particularly like, please send it over.

Also, I have made a roast, some homemade soup, a chicken rub, and a chicken-spinach thing.  Also, I am learning to make small things, like bbq chicken.  Cooking nutritionally is fun and a learning process.

My next adventure is scones.  :)


  1. I honestly have never tried my hand at jelly. The closest I've ever come is Jello shots, lol! I also taught myself (mostly) how to cook and bake. Love, love, love the Food TV channel, but I ultimately attribute it to my Betty Crocker Cookbook from the 70s, specifically laid out as a teaching cookbook. Amazing what I learned from that old book. I still have it. The binding's taped up now to give it a lil extra life, and my hubby bought me a brand new version of it a couple years ago, but I can't part with it.

    It's very adventurous of you to try out something new just to do it. I am dying to make some savory focaccia, but I can't cook where I'm at right now. Haven't cooked in two years pretty much :( Maybe that's why I ultimately wanted my blogfest theme to be food. Thank you for joining it and sharing your quickly growing mad skills with us!

  2. I loved reading about your food adventures. I often thought about making jam but lack the courage! Great blogfeast post.

    Even Zombies Have Taste

  3. I love the way you have added pictures to this blog. Good luck with your cooking. It looks like you've made a great start. Come by my blogfeast and see what you make of mine :O)

  4. Thank you all for your comments! I appreciate them so much. I'll read all your blogs this weekend. :)

  5. Scones? Good luck with that, I can never get them quite right:0)

  6. Hey Ivy. Here in Oz jelly is jam. I've made all sorts in my time, but my favourite is guava jelly which is hard to make but well worth it. Good on you for making a batch. Jam making can be difficult, like sweet making, as you have to be very careful that it's done, then not overdone.

    Luckily where I live, there is a charity stall outside once a months, where all these wonderful ladies make home-made jams, chutneys, butters and sauces. Lucky me. Of course, they're all gone in a flash as people remember how these products used to taste.

    Great entry for blogfeast. Rather different to mine..:)

  7. My wife tried homemade jelly twice. Went well the first time. The second time, not so much. Needless to say, she's not attempted a third.

  8. Hi Ivy! Thanks for offering to post for me on October 19. I was going to email you the information but I couldn't locate your address. Mine's alexjcavanaugh AT Thanks!

  9. If you can read a recipe, you can cook. :) I forget where that's from, but it's the truth. That's where all of my non-Mexican cooking comes from anyway. Good luck on your adventure! And sorry I'm late on commenting for the fest.