If you hadn't noticed....I've been kind of...LAZY the last little bit. Hey, it's summer! Today totally whooped me, but we had fun!
Aunt LoLo e-mailed me last night: "Hey! Let's make jam! Tomorrow! Come, bring the kids in their jammies, let's do it!" Aunt LoLo is nothing if not impetuous...and welcoming. Mimi and I managed to sleep in till 8:15 (don't be too jealous, she had too much cheese yesterday and was up from 3:00 to 4:30 crying), so by 9:30 we were dressed and at LoLo's doorstep with all my canning gear, pounds of fruit, recipes, jars, freezer jars...we were quite a sight to see! The kids splintered off into pairs and we didn't see them until they got hungry again, and we got down to business- I'll have to poach some pictures from Aunt LoLo when she puts them up. I'm sure there's at least a good shot of my weeny child-sized hands and some madly boiling jam.
We made a double batch of my favorite raspberry-rhubarb freezer jam, and a double (plus a little more) batch of my favorite strawberry jam. The strawberry jam was pureed completely, because I was using frozen berries, and they always seem a bit like foam rubber when you cook with them later, so I thought I'd just take care of that issue right away! Two hours start to finish, we had a clean kitchen and a small army of filled jars. Since most of my canning up to this point has been done alone, after the kids go to sleep, this was a very welcome change! I still can't believe we got it all done so fast- it probably helped that only one recipe had to be processed in the water bath. Four hands sure speeds up the process!
The kids got lunch (Ernie was in tears, because she never got BREAKFAST, which she specifically told me this morning she intended to skip when I offered it, but she agreed to eat breakfast for lunch and ate 5 bowls of Cheerios. And felt much better. Umm...wow, kid.) Home for naps, tidy the kitchen, help a Costco fairy unload a trunk full of pantry staples (thanks for saving me a trip, among other things, Dad!)
I should tell you, my dad doesn't mess around at Costco. I mentioned tortilla chips, he bought two kinds plus a double pack of tortillas. All bases are covered! Plus strawberries for the girls, three kinds of flour because he couldn't find the one I'd mentioned until after he'd picked up two other kinds, 2 kinds of soymilk for the Meemster, raspberries, enough cheese to keep us in pizza and pao de queijo for a LONG time, and loads of other goodies.
Loaded all the grated cheese into 2-quart bags for the freezer, gave the girls a snack, transplanted some badly neglected plants into the garden, and got dolled up for a date with hubby! We missed a 5:00 session at the temple by about 15 minutes and so had until 6:00 to enjoy dinner in the cafeteria- I know totally romantic dinner, but it was the most time I'd spent with him all week so it was a perfect thing. (I didn't pick up a dessert in the line, but I totally should have- those ladies know their way around Jell-O, and I'm pretty sure it was an ingredient in at least 5 different desserts!) The man who was serving the food behind the counter was pretty funny- I don't think he heard very well, so it wouldn't have helped to ask, but he practically drowned my plate in gravy. In hind sight I would have begged off the from-a-mix gravy and just grabbed a bit of butter! (I had yummy baked parmesan chicken pieces with mashed potatoes and a salad, and the husband had a really veggie-heavy bowl of clam chowder and a soft roll and an ENORMOUS fudge-topped brownie. I don't think I could work at the temple and eat there every day and not end up looking like a house!)
Oh man. This post is so long I'm getting tired again. Sweet Aunt LoLo came and gave the kids dinner and put them all the girls to bed even Ming Wai (she finally agreed to a sleep over, I just finished listening to the girls giggle themselves to sleep.) We'll have pancakes in the morning, and Friday's in the bag!