Did you miss Part 1 of our Doha, Qatar adventure with lots of food and friend pictures? Then check it out here.
In April we flew over to Qatar to teach a class in relationship to what Reed + Rader does, make fun videos and gifs! The experience was one of a kind and amazing in all sorts of ways. Part 3 will be coming soon where I show you what the students made and how the class went. But for now, Part 2, I want to show you around Doha and show you how they do everything big and beautiful. Actually that’s a understatement, they do everything bigger than big. The trip was long but comfortable. I had the tea flowing and the entire season of Downton Abbey was available to watch for me to catch up on. Read More
If you visit this blog then you probably know I love all things pumpkins. I love growing pumpkins. I love eating pumpkins. I love hugging pumpkins. I love doing the pumpkin dance. It’s a great time of the year. I mean who can’t love me in my pumpkin sweater (great eBay find, I was the only bidder, I have no idea why)?
Soybeans are always warriors of the garden. We started growing these a few years ago when I was madly in love with edamame but hated the price of it. So we bought some soybean seeds, planted them and a few months later we were left with so many soybeans we didn’t know what to do!
Remember that crazy year of soybeans?
Oh, I remember it!
With this year we continued the soybean tradition but planted a few plants less than usual because… well, we had too many soybeans!
It started out with a seed… It started out with a kiss… Anyone love that song? Anyone else think Brandon Flowers is a babe? Major babe. Like Woah babe. Top 5 babes. Along with Goblin and Brother Bear.
I know, what a title right? Show someone you love them…. with a unicorn! So grab your unicorn (they’re easy to find) and let’s get loving.
The truth is I love Matthew. Kissy faces and “oohs and ahhs” from the crowd. Stop it you guys. So when I heard about CloudPets™ that allow you to give someone a stuffed animal that sends voice messages to them and for them to return them back to you, I knew I had to surprise Matthew with one. What says I love you more than hearing my voice every morning with a new surprise?
Watch below for how it works. When there’s a new message the heart blinks red. Then you press it’s hand and the message is heard!
HOMEMADE Watermelon Jam with no pectin! This easy to make jam recipe uses fresh watermelon juice to make a healthy jam. No pectin is needed for this recipe, just throw it in the refrigerator when it’s done! This is one of the best fruit jams, I love eating it on toast!
What can I make with watermelons?
This year we grew a bunch of watermelons in the garden. If you’re looking for a good container fruit to grow, watermelon is the direction you should go in. On each plant we usually get 3-4 watermelons which quickly adds up when you have a few plants!
By the way did you know that watermelon is a fruit and a vegetable? It is a fruit because it grows from a seed. It’s a vegetable because it is harvested and cleared from the field like other vegetables and because it is a member of the same family as pumpkins. I had no idea!
Watermelon Jam Recipe
First, you’ll need watermelon juice which is easy to make. Remove the seeds from your watermelon and then throw watermelon chunks in a blender or food processor. Blend until it turns into watermelon juice!
I love making homemade jam with blueberries so I decided this time to make a watermelon jam recipe. And because I think all jam tastes and smells better with a bit of cinnamon we’ll throw some of that in to make it extra special. This recipe calls for 16 cups of watermelon juice (watermelon is 92% juice) but if you don’t have that much just scale down the recipe.
Start with a big pot of your watermelon juice.
Bring it to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat to medium high.
And then continue to lightly boil for the next 2-3 hours. You will see the watermelon start to break down and thicken to a dark jam color. This is mine after 3 hours.
I’ll let the jam sit for a few minutes to thicken up completely and then I’ll quickly get it in mason jars, You can see how thick the jam got here.
I bet noone will believe you when you tell them this jam is watermelon jam!
Watermelon Jam without pectin!
Now throw in a mason jar and into the fridge it goes. No pectin is required for this watermelon jam!
When it’s ready to spread on a bagel or toast, smear a bit all over and enjoy your homemade jam!
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
More Jam Recipes
Looking for more jam recipes? Try my other favorites:
HOMEMADE Watermelon Jam! This easy to make jam recipe uses fresh watermelon juice to make a healthy jam. No pectin is needed for this recipe, just throw it in the refrigerator when it's done! This is one of the best fruit jams, I love eating it on toast!
16cupswatermelon juiceseeds out
Mix all ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium high. Keep a eye on this so it doesn't boil over. Skim foam as it rises. Check and stir every 15 minutes.
Continue to boil for 2-3 hours (mine took 3 hours). Depending if you reduce the recipe yours might done faster, so keep checking to make sure it doesn't burn.
Let sit for 5 minutes. Immediately place in mason jar. The jam hardens quickly so if you let it sit for longer it will be tough getting it out of the pot.
You guys know I love peanut butter. A few days ago I posted some peanut butter on Instagram and exclaimed I was going to married it. I’m not sure if I can, but if not, I think it’s time we get to that point. I mean why not? Peanut butter is always there for you, it has silky smooth skin and it’s there to comfort you being held in a spoon at 4AM in the morning. Oh peanut butter, you glorious thing. But things just got better. Before it might have been weird if you pulled out your jar of Jif peanut butter on the subway and got down, but now you can have it in bar form with Jif Bars. You guys, I love these so much I made them a Friday “What I love” post because they’re that special.
I love a on the go snack as often in NYC I’m on the go and need that energy to get to point A to point G. Jif Peanut Butter Granola bars a combo of my loved Jif Peanut Butter with chewy granola. They come in 3 flavors to make everyone happy, I say eat all 3, but that’s because I mean peanut butter business. There’s Creamy Peanut Butter, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Favorite? Them all! Ok, extreme favorite? Peanut Butter Chocolate because PB+C=4ever. The bars have 7-8g of protein in each bar which is great to keep your energy up.
And because you guys are my boos I’m giving away some of these yummy treats at the end of the post. And now let’s get energized. I want to show you 2 days this week where I hung out with my Jif bars, also known as my future husband.
Waiting for the G train subway, sweaty and hot but enjoyable with peanut butter.
EASY and HEALTHY Chinese Green Beans With Ham recipe! These taste just like the Chinese buffet! A soy sauce garlic sauce is added on top of the beans in this easy to make dish that only takes 15 minutes to make!
Chinese food is one of my favorites but I have to admit that usually after I eat takeout I feel guilty and awful. Over the years I’ve really been working hard to perfect some Chinese recipes to get them tasting like the restaurant but healthier by making them in my own kitchen. I even have a section of Chinese recipes favorites here, with a little push that the Chicken and Broccoli is a fan favorite on my blog.
Fresh Green Beans Recipe
Right now we have a bunch of green beans growing in the garden. I love rooting around in the bush beans trying to find the beans. I love my Slow Cooker Green Beans recipe, but I wanted to try something new!
With some freshly green beans just picked I knew what was on the menu: Chinese Green Beans, just like from the Chinese buffet! To make this a full all around meal ham is a great addition to Chinese Green Beans. You can used Cubed Ham or Diced Ham, depending on what you like. It’s also a perfect recipe for leftover ham.
What else do you need? I love adding green peppers to Chinese meals because they soak up the soy sauce and other sauces so nicely. Whenever I get broccoli and garlic sauce for takeout, they always add green peppers. I love it!
And 15 minutes later, your meal is done. That’s faster than calling the Chinese restaurant and waiting for it to be delivered! Not to mention it’s so much more healthy!
If you have sesame seeds in your pantry, sprinkle some on top. They make a nice little crunch on top.
Enjoy my Chinese Green Beans recipe! Now load up on beans and enjoy your meal!
Do you have Half and Half milk close to the expiration date but don’t want it go bad because of how expensive it was? Don’t worry, you can freeze it!
You know the situation. You buy Half & Half milk because you are craving homemade ice cream. You only need a cup but the store only has a quart of it. Even worse, it’s $5.79. So you ponder “Should I just buy a carton of ice cream already made?” or “Should I suck up the price and make my own?”. You decide to go against the grain and make your own. You take it home and make your ice cream.
You’re feeling good about yourself and keep telling yourself you’re going to use the rest of the Half & Half for something else and you won’t let that money go to waste. Then you open the refrigerator again and you see that Half & Half staring back at you for the 90th time. You know the expiration date is coming up in 4 days. You panic. You let the Half & Half down. It’s going to go waste. You wasted money! Ahhhh, the agony of defeat!
But now you won’t ever let that happen because I’m here to tell you how easy it is to freeze Half & Half milk. All you do is measure it out into freezer bags (I usually do 1 cup per bag because recipes call for that) and then freeze them. When you need that Half & Half for a recipe, defrost it and you have your milk. You’ll never have to throw away money again!
Can you freeze half and half? Yes!
Stare at your Half & Half milk.
Measure the amount you want to use in each freezer bag. I recommend 1/2 cup or 1 cup.
Grab your freezer bags.
Pour the Half & Half into each freezer bag, closing the bag the best you can to remove all air.
I like to throw it on a cookie sheet so it stays flat when freezing. After it’s frozen I’ll remove it from the cookie sheet and then stack in my freezer. I find that freezing flat really helps with keeping the freezer more organized and allows me to store more.
Into the freezer it goes. When you need it, defrost it and continue to use how you regularly would.
EASY STEP BY STEP Chili Powder Recipe made from from Jalapeno Peppers! This homemade recipe shows how to dry jalapeno peppers and then crush into ground seasoning. It’s a super easy DIY project, perfect if you have extra jalapeno peppers! I do this every Summer with our garden peppers!
This year we planted a few more jalapeno pepper plants than usual. Actually we didn’t plan on this but some of our jalapeno seeds got mixed up with green pepper seeds and then suddenly as the seeds started to come up and turned into seedlings, we realized we were going to have a ton of jalapeno peppers. This was fine with me because you know I love candied peppers and eat about half a cup a day (amazing for a afternoon snack with crackers and cheese).
But a girl can only have so many jars of candied jalapenos stored up for Winter. With a few pounds of jalapeno peppers just picked (and more to pick tomorrow) I got to thinking about what else could I do with them?
I love preserving vegetables for Winter (here is my guide) to give a little garden memory when it’s snowing here in the Northeast. If you look at our mini freezer right now it’s stocked up with tomato sauces, salsa verde and pumpkin puree ready for Winter. My goal is not to buy any tomato sauce ever again and keep it in rotation with all the Summer tomatoes we’ll grow again next year. Hopefully this dream comes true.
I don’t really like to get out of bed when my alarm goes off. For one it’s still Summer and the air conditioner is on and I don’t feel like braving 90 degrees today. For another, I’m tired and I want to sleep in 2 more hours. And most importantly I’m usually surrounded by my cuddle bears who try to lure me back to sleep with their soft purrs and gentle paw taps. Xanadu is like “Come back to me Mom..”
Look at all the green vegetables we picked this week on our NYC rooftop garden!
We’re picking tomatoes like wild people but we’re also picking a ton of other vegetables. Right now there’s tomatillos, peppers (jalapeno and bell), soy beans, green beans, yellow beans, watermelon, cantaloupes, cucumbers, radishes and carrots growing. As soon as the soybeans are picked, broccoli will make it’s way to their bins. Once the carrots and radishes are harvested, a quick seed refresh will be planted to hope we can get them regrown by first frost. In our previous onion 4×4 containers a new batch of sugar snap peas were just planted in hopes they will make it before frost as well, although every year they seem to miss it by a week or two.
What’s growing and what are we picking in the garden that’s green? Let’s dive in.
Beans! Yellow beans, green beans, they’re everywhere! In the beginning years of the garden we didn’t have much luck with pole and bush beans but starting last year we tried it again and it worked. This year we decided to expand to pole beans and they are growing awesome. We added new fresh compost fertilizer to the soil and these beans took off. Matthew is 6 feet so check out how big they’ve gotten. The right side won with getting to the top first. :D)
We have multiple gallon sized bags full of green beans in the fridge with us picking more every day. We’ve been enjoying them for dinner sauteed and in vegetable soup (recipe coming soon) and I’ve been freezing a few bags to save until Winter.