Peach Jam Recipe

I have gotten a request from a good friend for the peach jam recipe we used.  I of course found them all on Pinterest.  I made 4 different versions of peach jam because I am usually up for experimenting.  The first version I made was this Vanilla Peach Jam.  It doesn’t use pectin so it has to simmer for hours to get to the right consistency.  I already had the vanilla beans on hand because I make my own Vanilla Extract.  But if you buy individual beans at your grocery store they will set you back $3-4 each.  Ouch.  So I order about 1/4 pound of them each year from somebody in California who sells them  on eBay.  They are great quality and you get a lot more than you would think for the price.  I think I spent a total of $9 last year and I got 27.5 beans.  It was fantastic.  I made over a half gallon of vanilla extract.

My Vanilla Peach Jam was simmering. Do you see the huge vanilla bean there on the bottom?

My Vanilla Peach Jam was simmering. Do you see the huge vanilla bean there on the bottom?

The second version of peach jam I made required pectin and boy was it so much easier with pectin.  I followed the recipe on the pectin package and it turned out pretty great.  This is the version I opened for the girls’ PB&J’s last week.  I also gave a pint size jar of this to our friends who went camping with us.

The third version I made was an overnight crock-pot version.  Never again will I try that.  I started it after 10pm so it would be ready early in the morning after cooking for 8 hours like the recipe said.  No, just NO! This resulted in a nasty smelling, burnt looking and tasting, pathetic excuse for jam.  If you want to try making jam in the crock pot then please do it during the day when to can constantly check on it.  This whole batch got dumped down the garbage disposal.

And this is the color you DO NOT want your jam to be.  Crock Pot Jam was a failure.

And this is the color you DO NOT want your jam to be. Crock Pot Jam was a failure.

The fourth version was a no-pectin version again but following a basic recipe.  It was easier to do the simmering this time because I had the practice from the day before.  I also knew what consistency I was looking for and it felt like it just took a lot less time.

All of my pretty jars of Peach Jam.

All of my pretty jars of Peach Jam.

I really enjoyed being able to make all of this jam for super cheap.  I stopped in at Walmart to get the lids with bands.  The store had them stocked in the wrong place so I got a killer deal on them.  And because of this I decided to buy my bags of sugar there as well.  My budget for supplies was the $11 I had in my pocket.  And at $8 even it left me a little extra to stop in at the local coffee place and grab a much desired fancy coffee concoction.

I got my lids with bands for only $1.48 because they were stocked in the wrong place in the store.  I saved $2 per box because of their error.

I got my lids with bands for only $1.48 because they were stocked in the wrong place in the store. I saved $2 per box because of their error.

My bags of super cheap sugar and the lids with bands needed to create a good seal.

My bags of super cheap sugar and the lids with bands needed to create a good seal.

Do you make your own jams?

Freezer Burritos

On our camping trip our friends brought these yummy smelling pre-made burritos and just heated them up over the fire in a pan.  Their boys ate them on up with sour cream and I was feeling jealous.  Despite having a perfectly grilled burger in my hands I was coveting their burritos.  Of course I had to ask her for the recipe.  Hooray for technology because we can just tell our friends “it is on my Pinterest” and they know what you are talking about.

I couldn’t resist looking it up when I got home and I found the recipe for Freezer Burritos.  This recipe gives you measurements to use pre made refried beans and enchilada sauce or, my preference, make your own from recipes they gathered.  The enchilada sauce is the best I have ever tasted and I can’t wait to make more soon.  The refried beans were so much cheaper to make than buy.  This whole thing took so much longer because I wanted to make it all myself but I couldn’t resist.

So in total it yielded 20 burritos for the freezer and about 2 cups of extra mixture (enough for 6-8 more burritos) that I set aside and made a bean dip out of for the tortilla chips I had leftover from our camping trip.

With the ground beef on sale, the pinto beans, making my own chicken broth, buying the chili powder in bulk, shredded cheese, and locally made flour tortillas it cost $8 for those 20 burritos.

They passed my taste inspection but The Girls were not totally pleased by them.  They aren’t big fans of Mexican inspired food like I am.  My Husband Extraordinaire does not like beans so he has yet to try them.  That is fine.  It gives me quick lunches for myself on days when The Girls are having PB&J’s with that peach jam I made.

Do you stock homemade and easy to heat up foods in your freezer?

Shepherd’s Pie and Pinterest

If you all follow my Eight Dollars a Day board on Pinterest then you know I pin new meal ideas often.  On there I have things from Paleo to Vegan and now Gluten Free.  We have tried so many different eating styles in the past few years to see what works best for us.  What we have learned is that Paleo can be done on a budget but unless you are eating primarily vegetables and proper servings of meat you will find yourself gaining instead of losing weight.  Vegan tastes like hungry… and lentils are never an acceptable substitution for meat in a Shepherd’s Pie.  And Gluten Free is easier when we are not constantly trying to find acceptable substitutions for the breads and sweets.

That all being said, we did find a great and totally family friendly Shepherd’s Pie recipe.  Even Mr. Picky ate a big serving and I didn’t have to coax him to eat the vegetables in it.  I followed it almost exactly except for the Tablespoon of minced garlic I added in after the onions.  And her directions do not seem to specify when to add the brown sugar so I just put it in with the rest of the spices.  I did use a steak rub and the zucchini which she lists as optional.  But to me they made the meal.  We used that homemade chicken broth that I talked about a couple days ago.

Stay tuned to find out if the kids like the Straw-Blueberry Chia Pudding for breakfast tomorrow.

What kind of eating styles have you tried? What did you like about each one?