Go out there and find beauty!

I don’t know about you, but I always feel that I am too busy to stop and take a break and “smell the roses”. Recently, a friend advised me (instead of rushing through my work week and desperately waiting for the weekend) to take at least a few minutes out of each day to look for and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us and to which we are often blind. Enjoy the small moments and make every day count!

Today, I was thinking how I have to finish this and that and how the weekend is not nearly long enough to complete everything I planed, when I remembered my friend’s words: “Go out there and find beauty!” So I did:

Fall leaves

Echinacea

A heart shaped leaf

SONY DSC

fall leaves

Fall leaves

berries

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

last tomatoes

beyond the fence

Basking in the sun

fall

a red fall leaf

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Oven-baked Plum Jam

This is an easy-to-make jam with only three ingredients and no additives. I call it Grandma-Style Jam. 🙂 It reminds me of my childhood and the warm days of late summer when I helped my grandmother can all the veggies and fruit of the harvest.

This old fashioned jam is made with Stanley Plums, those oval, pretty, deep bluish-purple ones. Jam takes some time to bake, but there is no artificial ingredients and the jam keeps very very well for a year and without refrigeration.

I’ve used this jam for breakfast with bread and butter, with pancakes and waffles, in crumble/coffee cakes, sweet yeasted buns or buchteln. I am sure you will find a way to use this fragrant, sweet tasting goodness!

oven baked plum jam


{Printable Recipe}

Ingredients:

3 kg (about 6 1/2 lbs) Stanley Plums
1 kg (about 2 lbs) sugar
1.5 dl (2/3 cup) rum

Also needed:

1 roasting pan with lid (I use an oval turkey roasting pan)
A wooden spoon
Jars and canning supplies

Making jam:

  1. Wash your plums thoroughly (I wash them three times), place on kitchen towel and dry lightly, pit them and half them. All fruit need to be absolutely healthy, discard any that have rotten parts.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F).
  3. Place the plums into a deep roasting pan. Do not over fill because jam maybe be boiling over and messing up your oven.
  4. Pour sugar over plums and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Place the lid on the pan and put in the middle of the oven.
  6. Keep the lid for the first 30 minutes of baking.
  7. After the first 30 minutes, take off the lid and stir the plums.
  8. Bake for another 2 – 2 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
  9. When you notice jam is thickening, add rum and bake for another 10 minutes.
  10. Fill into clean, sterilized and hot jars and follow your usual canning procedure.

Enjoy!

Stanley Plums, Sljive

Oven baked plum jam

Somewhere in the middle of baking

Oven baked plum jam

Oven baked plum jam

Oven baked plum jam

As the Fall slowly turns into Winter…

Every time I spend an entire day inside, my mood changes from good to worse. I feel like I’ve missed something, like life is somehow moving without me. Today was starting to be one of those days. The weather was fairly warm for the late November, but the day was gray and it seemed as it will start raining any minute. Our dogs were eager to go out, I could just see it in their pretty eyes and in their postures.

So, we (my children and I) decided to go out for a walk in the park and along the river. Oh, how beautiful this late Fall day turned out to be. It still was gray and cloudy, but just being outdoors, breathing the fresh air, watching the Fall fading and Winter taking over, seeing our dogs genuine, unrestricted happiness, it made a whole difference. A splash of positive energy just came over me and I thought how I often forget to enjoy and appreciate little things… Life is good! Thank you God!