Plumeria Action

One of the plumerias has already bloomed and another is getting ready.  Quite early, but probably to be expected since we had a mild winter.


I love being outdoors but we had a lot of rain this week so I had a chance to play on my computer and not feel bad about ignoring the garden.  On one of the blogs I discovered some free Photoshop Actions.  I usually use Photoshop for cropping and adjusting the lighting but I had to download the actions and try them out.  Fun!  Here are a few of the examples:

Fresh and Colorful
Soft and Faded

Who needs hipstamatic?  You can download the actions which work with Photoshop CS4 at Pioneer Woman.  It’s all free and includes instructions.  She also has a version that works with Photoshop Elements.

Have a great weekend!


Time for Jam!

Michelle has saved you from another day of dog posts!  She didn’t have anything to paint so she made some jam!

And Michelle takes the blog…..

For Mothers Day William and I went blueberry picking with Mom. I had some to freeze and some to make jam out of. Lo-Cal jam with very little sugar, and was soooo fast and easy!  (I usually make enough in a no-sugar to share with the neighbors)

So here we go:

1: 4 Cups of Fabulous Fresh Florida Blueberries, with 1 C apple juice, and packet of sugar-free pectin. Light that fire!

Step 1

 2: Since I’m taking photos of everything else,…here’s the ingredients. Hmmm, is that an empty cookie jar in the background. Looks like I need that oven, too.

Step 2

 3: Stir those babies with a potato masher and break them up a bit. Get it boiling.

Step 3

4: Make sure your little jars (1/2 pints) are sterilized…yes I used the dishwasher on half-load sanitizer..see the little Z. That means we’re good to go.

Step 4

5: Put ’em face down on a clean towel (so you don’t touch the edges when you pick them up).

Step 5

6: Is the pot boiling yet?

Step 6

This is the part when you look around and discover you’ve got a molten pot of blueberry napalm to handle! Do I really need this on my floor (NO) or in my white grout (NO) – So, if you’re a ‘messy cook’, either use your neighbors kitchen or go get a towel for the floor and saran wrap the backsplash. There’s a reason the Indians dyed blue fabric with it…and you see it on the Antiques almost never comes out. Ready now, next step.

7: OK, the berries have boiled enough.  I add a little less than 1/2 cup Whey Low and a dabble of honey to taste. Get it going. Yes, I have a canning funnel…it’s soooo worth it.

Step 7

8: Fill those jars. Carefully and leave a little space at the top. Only finger tighten the lids.

Step 8

9: Move them to the bath! Make sure there’s water covering the lids. (supposed to be an inch – I cheat) See that oven mitt – it’s Orka silicon – right into the water I LOVE IT

Step 9

10:  Then we wait – 10 minutes – on a rolling boil.

Step 10

11: Then turn it off and we wait some more – 5 minutes – they’re still nuclear, remember. Listen and they’ll pop. That’s the lids sealing.

Step 11

12: OK, Out they go to sit on the towel and cool a bit. Twelve to 24 hours to be exact.

Step 12

13: Look for the dimple circle in the middle – that’s a good seal. If any don’t seal, just get them in the fridge and use them in the next week or so.

Step 13

14: Look at them – how cute. They just need labels and little fabric hats…ugh soooo Martha. Just think, if there’s any left at Halloween you can change the labels to something like ‘Pickled Eye of Newt” HA!

Step 14

15: Now go check Kathy’s blog and see what’s new….then send her a pile of crazy photos of the afternoon’s adventures from the kitchen.

Step 15

It’s way better than anything in the stores. Warm it up add a dash of cinnamon and pour over anything! Add it to your morning yogurt or evening fro-yo treat – I’m thinkin’ angel food cupcakes….

Looks like a busy afternoon and I’m wondering how I can get a taste of jam! Hey, I’ll take an un-dimpled jar!  I was a little afraid of that silicone glove thing.  Thought an albino shark was grabbing the jam, then I read step 9.

Two other things that I’d like to mention.

First, all of the pictures in this article were taken on Michelle’s iPhone 4.  I didn’t do any editing with Photoshop.  Just goes to show that you don’t have to have an expensive camera to take great pictures.  A lot of it is about the lighting and checking out what is in the background.

Second, Michelle used Whey Low to sweeten her blueberries.  You may not be familiar with this product.  It is an all-natural, low-calorie, low-glycemic sugar replacement sweetener.  You can get it at Whole Foods Market or online.  Since I live far far away in another galaxy from Whole Foods, I buy whey low online.  I have been using it for a few years in most of my baked goods. While I don’t make jam, I do like to bake and also try to use healthy ingredients.  Whey Low is advertised as a one-for-one replacement for table sugar in volume, weight and sweetness but I find it a little sweeter than sugar so use a little less.

Anyone else that wants to contribute, just email me!  Or, there will be more dogs in the future!