Category Archives: Jellies & Jams

Tomato Basil Jam

Things I’m looking forward to enjoying again once I’ve delivered this baby:

  1. Sleeping on my stomach.
  2. Taking hot baths.
  3. Driving my car (I haven’t safely fit behind the wheel of my car since June).
  4. Eating an obnoxious amount of sugar all at once – like a big fat cinnamon roll. Or a thick slice of German Chocolate Cake. Or a pile of my grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. Or a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins. Or bowl of Baskin Robin’s peanut butter and chocolate ice cream…
  5. Having more than 4 shirts to choose from.
  6. Wearing shoes other than flip-flops.
  7. Ordering my favorite sushi roll – spicy tuna with avocado – from Mr. Le’s.
  8. Regaining emotional control – everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, makes me cry these days.

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Tomato Basil Jam

Before I got pregnant I enjoyed trying to predict all of the crazy and bizarre things I thought I might crave. I imagined waking up in the middle of the night and screaming at my husband, “CRAB RANGOON – NOW!!!”.  Or making myself peanut butter-jelly-nacho cheese Dorito’s sandwiches as an afternoon snack. But, unfortunately, I have no stories of weird cravings to share.

I can tell you that on Christmas Eve, the day before we found out we were pregnant, I was the most thirsty I ever remember being, and all I wanted was Vitamin Water. On our way to my grandmother’s house in McPherson I had Jeff pull over at least 3 times to buy bottles of it for me to drink.

And then there have been multiple evenings where I’ve really wanted something salty – tater tots from Sonic, big fat cheese burgers, piles of hot crispy fries. Those were perhaps some of my husband’s favorite of our pregnant moments because those are all of his favorite things.

Today, however, I finally had an unusual craving. I had an overwhelming urge to make tomato jam. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s flavorful and depending on how hefty your pinch of cayenne is, it might even pack a punch. It’s the perfect way to use up any less than perfect garden tomatoes that have been sitting on your kitchen counter. And the things you can do with it!  Pair it with cream cheese on crackers for a beautiful and simple hors d’oeuvres. Spread it on a burger. Sneak it into a grilled cheese sandwich. Serve it with grilled chicken or steak. Or simply use it to add some glamour to your homemade biscuits.


  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 15 leaves of basil, torn into pieces
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • hefty pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3-4 strips of lemon peel


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer until tomato mixture has thickened, about one hour. Stir and mash down frequently during cooking.
  2. Remove lemon peel.
  3. Can in prepared jars.


Kentucky Bar Fight Jam

It’s been several weeks (months?) since I’ve posted any new entries in my blog. In fact, I believe the last time I sat down to type my baby was merely the size of a mango. Today he or she is closer to a watermelon. Or something even bigger, perhaps. I’ve missed blogging and have been wanting to come back, but feeling completely overwhelmed by the need to catch up/finish what I started (i.e. documenting the weeks in my pregnancy by posting recipes featuring an item that was the same size as my baby). I’ll tell you what happened – I got hung up on the mango entry. My husband and I came up with this fantastic recipe for Spicy Mango Pops, but I never was able to find any Popsicle molds. Then, one week after another after another went by… and the realization that this baby was coming made me replace the need to blog with the need to PREPARE.

I’m sure you understand, right?

Anyhow, I’ve given myself permission to jump back in to blogging without having to go back and finish up the weeks. I’ve also given myself permission to change my mind and decide to maybe later, down the road, post a WEEKLY recipe, here and there, in case I do choose to finish up my WEEKS OF PREGNANCY project.

That is not the plan for today, though. Today I’m going to catch you up on where I am now:

  1. I’m 38 weeks along.
  2. Pregnancy has been, for the most part, a very enjoyable experience.
  3. I am, however, over the heartburn, waddling, inability to get myself up off the floor without the assistance of my husband, and getting out of bed 7 times a night to use the bathroom.
  4. Our bags are packed and waiting by the front door.
  5. We still do not know the sex of the baby, making it very exciting – especially for those who’ve made bets!  😉
  6. I had three WONDERFUL baby showers – each of them unique and beautiful. I swear, I have the best friends a girl could ask for.
  7. We have a solid boy name picked out, but haven’t told anyone what it is yet. We’ve known for over 2 years what we’d name a boy if we ever had one. As for a girl’s name… I’m just not convinced we need to worry about that. I’m 98% sure we’re having a boy – I can just FEEL it.  But, if we do have a girl, which I would be thrilled about, we have a few names picked out that we’ll just have to choose from.
  8. I’m nearing the end of my big BABY-TO-DO list. The nursery is finally all put together (minus window trim, which Jeff is putting the final touches on), baby clothes and toys are all washed and put away, the car seat has been installed and inspected… Unfortunately, though, it seems that as soon as I check off CLEAN KITCHEN I have to put it back on the list again. For example:

I had the the kitchen all clean and sparkling over the weekend. I even said to my husband, “Don’t even THINK about going in there. It’s staying that way until we get home from the hospital”.  Then, we went out to our garden and saw that our four sad little jalapeno plants had FINALLY produced some peppers. We picked an armful and brought them in and knew we couldn’t just let them go to waste. So, back out came all of the pots and pans. And sugar. And berries. And booze.

Kentucky Bar Fight Jam

While discussing what we could make with our home grown jalapenos Jeff and I reminisced about how much we both LOVELOVELOVE the candied jalapenos we like to make and give out during the holidays. He says, “let’s make a version of that – we’ll make jalapeno jam”.  That reminded me of a spicy jam we made last year for Christmas with blackberries and raspberries. Naturally, one thing lead to another and we came up with this – Kentucky Bar Fight Jam. Why that name? Because we decided to use blackberries, blueberries and bourbon. Get it?  Black and blue?  Bourbon is historically associated with Kentucky? Japalenos sting and have a bite, like bar fights? We’re goofy. I know. It’s okay.

So, what do you do with a spicy berry jam? Anything you want!  We immediately got out the Triscuit crackers and goat cheese and started to make tasty little bites. However, I have since then become a big fan of eating it spread on top of a piece of hearty wheat bread with more goat cheese. Don’t worry, if goat cheese isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute with cream cheese. Both are delicious!


  • 1 pint Blueberries
  • 6 oz Blackberries
  • 1-2 cups finely diced Jalapenos (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • ¾ c apple cider vinegar
  • ½ c your favorite bourbon
  • 1.75 oz pkg of pectin
  • 5 c white sugar


1).  Wash and prepare berries. Make sure you discard any bad berries and remove any stems that may still be lingering on the blueberries.  All together they should measure out to 3 cups.  Combine with jalapenos in a large sauce pan along with apple cider vinegar and bourbon. Heat mixture on high, stirring constantly. Gradually add all of pectin.

2).  Once mixture comes to a rolling boil, add all of sugar at once. Stir continuously until it reaches a rolling boil once again – cook for 1 full minute.  Remove from heat and pour into cleaned and prepared canning jars. Wipe rims and process 15 minutes in boiling water.

Makes 3 pints.