I've been trying new things this week.
Sunday evening Eric and I were eating our after-church lunch/snack. We usually eat supper out at Eric's parents home (lucky us!), and it's always good food (and the company is even better), so we try to eat pretty light for lunch to save room. This particular snack consisted of toast, string cheese, and a little bit of salad. As Eric was spreading jam on his toast, he mentioned how much he loved the jam, and how he was a little bit sad that we were nearing the end of it.
The jam in question was made several years ago by Heidi, while we were roommates. When she moved out (over two years ago), she was kind enough to leave some of her possessions behind, including a couch, a table with chairs, some bookshelves, a porch swing, a George Foreman Grill, a blender, 5-6 small containers of delicious strawberry freezer jam, and a few other items, all for my owning pleasure. (What a gem!)
My mother also makes awesome strawberry freezer jam, and as Eric mentioned his fondness for it, I briefly considered asking her to bring a container or two to our next family gathering. Before I managed to pick up the phone however, I remembered that I'd recently read about two of my friends who had blogged about successful jam making experiences. That combined with the fact that strawberries were currently on sale in every grocery store in town made me decide to try my hand at making the coveted jam myself.
So, last night, I bought 3 pounds of strawberries* a package of pectin, and a 10 lb bag of sugar (you don't need this much for jam of course, but we've been running low), and came home to start the strawberry adventure. One short easy hour later, we were the proud owners of 5 1/2 containers of what looks like delicious strawberry jam. It was so easy! The recipe was right there in the pectin box (I used Sure-Jell), and it was the simplest thing in the world for me to follow. Basically, you mash up the strawberries, add a whole bunch of sugar (and I do mean a whole bunch of sugar. If you've never made jam before, you'll die when you see how much sugar goes into the mix), soften the pectin in boiling water, add that to the strawberry-sugar mixture, and stir it until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then you pour it into containers and let it sit at room temperature for a day. After that, you put it in the freezer and you're done. How fun!
The other new thing I've been trying is the OpenOffice Suite from Sun Microsystems. Eric told me about it a couple of weeks ago, and then I read about it in Journal of Accountancy, and I've decided to give it a try. Basically, its a suite of software programs that are very similar to the MS Office programs, but they're free. As you may remember, I've had my share of frustrations with the MS Office 2007 programs, and so I'm all for trying out something new. So far I've been pleased with my experience. It's only been a day or two though, so I'll wait before giving it an official thumbs-up.
And that's life these days. Strawberry jam and software. Could anything be more thrilling?
*1 pound for jam
1 pound for healthy snacking
1 pound in case I find myself in dire need of chocolate-dipped strawberries soon
(Note--I totally lifted the picture of the jam ingredients straight from Angie's blog. Is that bad?)