Strawberry Delight

We’ve just returned home from a whirlwind trip to Germany (hence my hiatus from the blog).  The trip amazing and I hope to write about a few facets in the upcoming weeks.  While away, the question lingering in my head: will I make it home in time to pick strawberries?  Thanks to the long cold winter delaying the plants, I did.

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The boys received a pass this year, but our daughter joined me.  (Note to self: convince boys to come next time for faster picking.)  Despite a brutal winter and lots of recent rain, the strawberries were gorgeous.  We managed to pick a small flat before the little one lost interest.  (The flat is obviously quite heavy.  LOL)

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Once home, the berries were washed, dried, and hulled.  One tray was prepared with parchment paper for freezing whole berries to be used for smoothies.  The remaining 10 cups were crushed with a potato masher and made into jam.  To my disappointment, I couldn’t find low sugar pectin in any stores.  Low sugar pectin is all natural, but allows you to simply use less sugar when making your jam.  I did use a recipe that calls for slightly less sugar than most recipes and it set up fine.

After the jam was finished, I took the additional step of canning six half pints.  What a joy it will be to pop open the jars during the winter.  It’ll be like a little taste of summer.

My go-to resource for making and canning strawberry jam is: http://www.pickyourown.org/strawberryjam.htm

Besides the obvious uses for homemade jam, a favorite of mine is swirling a dollop into Greek yogurt.  For Weight Watchers followers, a half of cup (113g) of Fage non-fat Greek yogurt is 2P+ and a tablespoon of jam (20g) is 1P+.  Packed with 11g of protein, it’s deliciously filling summertime (and beyond!) treat.

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Willpower is Greater with Forethought

Oreos may as well be kryptonite.  I’m not sure what it is about them, but I can’t eat just one.  (Potato chips, no problem.  Oreos, problem.)  A long time ago, I decided that Oreos were a food that should never be in my house.  They’re really not that good.  They have no nutritional value.  They’re highly processed.  Loaded with calories and fat.  But even knowing all of that, I have little willpower against them.

THE PROBLEM: Our son requested a homemade mint ice cream birthday cake, layered with Mint Oreos.

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I’m happy to report that it took some willpower and forethought, but I took my own advice and had “just a dot, not a lot” of the leftover Oreos and lived to tell about it.  The birthday cake is assembled and it’s in the freezer firming up, in anticipation of the birthday celebration.  With forethought, I was able to defeat my kryptonite.

Here’s my strategy:

  1. Make a half-batch; enough for respectable servings, but not enough for leftovers for days
  2. After looking at the nutritional information for the Oreos, decide what a reasonable quantity is for now and commit to that
  3. Do not so-much-as sample a crumb until everything is assembled AND cleaned up
  4. Clean up the kitchen
  5. Divide the remainder of the leftover Oreos into containers for the boys’ lunchbox for tomorrow (once they’re earmarked, they no longer tempt me… thankfully)
  6. Sit down with my little girl and enjoy our predetermined quantity with her
  7. Ahhh…. breath a sigh of relief; I enjoyed my kryptonite and I won’t be kicking myself later

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For the record, there were 10 Mint Oreos remaining: 3 for me (6 PointsPlus), 3 for my daughter and 2 each for tomorrow’s lunch boxes.

I’m sitting here typing, not feeling deprived since I allowed myself to enjoy the treat, and I’m feeling empowered by moderation.  Just a dot, not a lot.