Exciting News + Healthy Strawberry Jam

Hi My Dancing Raindrops!

It’s so nice to see the rain outside. We don’t get a lot of rain where I live in Texas, so I always get excited when I hear the raindrops dashing across my window is music to my ears. <3

I have some exciting news this week!

* GIRL TALK ALERT! If you’re a guy or are uncomfortable with that kind of stuff, skip down below the dotted line to taste some strawberry deliciousness. :) *

Over the past few years, I’ve had some imbalances in my T.O.M. cycle. (If you want to know more about my story with this, you can check out some of my pasts posts – they can fill in the details of my journey.) In short, after numerous doctor visits and no answers, my endocrinologist decided for me simply to wait for my T.O.M. to come on its own, since I didn’t have any other health effects as a result. I know having a regular cycle is important to many health systems in my body, so I wanted to have it back. During these past two semesters up at college, it was nonexistent as well, and even though I wasn’t out of the ordinary, it was still distressing. Since I’ve been home, I’ve tried to relax. My life has been too full of stress for as long as I can remember, and I wanted to take a rest for a little while. This week, something miraculous happened. My T.O.M. (time of month) came and stayed with me these past five days! I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had a full cycle that long all on my own (without B.C. pills).

Even though going through this has been hard, it’s also been a blessing in my life. Through my semesters up at college, my life was non-stop, and not having it gave me one less thing to worry about throughout my day. Thinking about my experience these past years, I think my stress levels have had a large impact on my cycle. When I think about the body and why it would do this in response to stress, it amazes me with how the body senses things and reacts accordingly. It knew I was under a lot of pressure, so it tried to lighten the burden. This has given me time to experience just a fraction of the feelings a women who can’t bear children might feel. I’m excited to go back to college in January and take Anatomy and Physiology II, Nutrient Metabolism, and perhaps Women’s Health (I really hope I can get in!). I might not have my T.O.M. on a regular basis again when I go back up to college in January, but I’m comforted to know that when I’m home it comes back.

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It was Strawberry Week at my house today, so I made some Strawberry Jam!

I didn’t want to use any artificial sugars, but I also wanted this to be something my mom (who’s diabetic) could enjoy too. So, while having fun in the kitchen and throwing things together I came up with this simple recipe that results in only 10 calories per tablespoon! I had my family members try a spoonful of it to let me know if I needed to add more sugar or not, but they said it was delicious! My sister begged for the bowl and spatula after I was done to lick them clean! If I get that kind of reaction, I KNOW it’s good.

Here’s how I made it!


*Note: When I took these pictures I was two batches of my strawberry jam, so it will show an amount double of what the directions will make.*


Wash, remove the stems, and slice up the strawberries, adding them to a food blender or food processor.


Process on high just until the strawberries are broken down, leaving crushed pieces throughout.


(I like my jams thicker – more like preserves.)


Pour the crushed strawberries into a large bowl.


Add the no-cook fruit pectin. (I use the Simply Creations Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin.)


Add the sugar and stir it together, making sure the pectin is evenly distributed.


Pour into glass jars and let sit for 30 minutes until thickened. (If the jam isn’t as thick as you like, try adding another packet of fruit pectin. Then let it sit for another 30 minutes before freezing.) Secure lids, keep a couple of jars out for the fridge, and store the rest in the freezer until ready for more.


My family’s favorite way to eat this strawberry jam is to spread it on top of a couple toasted slices of my homemade bread with a little smart balance light buttery spread. Or, on occasion, I’ll catch them sticking their spoon in for the twentieth time. :P

Healthy Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 4 pints strawberries, washed and stems removed
  • 1 packet* no-cook fruit pectin
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions

Wash, remove the stems, and slice up the strawberries, adding them to a food blender or food processor. Process on high just until the strawberries are broken down, leaving crushed pieces throughout. (I like my jams thicker – more like preserves.) Pour the crushed strawberries into a large bowl.

Add the no-cook fruit pectin. (I use the Simply Creations Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin.) Add the sugar and stir it together, making sure the pectin is evenly distributed. Pour into glass jars and let sit for 30 minutes until thickened. Secure lids, keep a couple of jars out for the fridge, and store the rest in the freezer until ready for more. Makes approximately 2 quarts, or about 8 cups worth of jam.

My family’s favorite way to eat this strawberry jam is to spread it on top of a couple toasted slices of my homemade bread with a little smart balance light buttery spread. Or, on occasion I’ll catch them sticking their spoon in for the twentieth time. :P

*Note: If the jam isn’t as thick as you like, you may want to add another packet of fruit pectin. If so, let it sit for another 30 minutes before freezing. Also, add only enough sugar to sweeten it to your tastes. Some batches of strawberries are riper and sweeter than others, so you may or may not need as much depending on the season. With the amount listed above, each tablespoon of jam has only about 10 calories. If you use frozen strawberries, use about 3 12-oz bags of defrosted strawberries. Make the same way as illustrated above.

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I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does! <3

with lot of hugs,

Kathleen

The Lord works Miracles.

Hey my Wonderful Readers!

It feels so good to be back here speaking with you! I flew home this last Monday evening and this past week has been spent settling in, spending time with family, and getting into a schedule of things. I’m so excited to be home and have a little “break” before I head back up to school in January.

While I’m home for the next 4 months, I have a lengthy list of things I need to do. In addition to a driver’s license to get, wisdom teeth to be removed, a TON of books to read (including college-level anatomy/physiology coloring books), piano to practice, and the newest Nancy Drew PC game to conquer (#28!!!), I have stories and deliciousness that I’ve been DYING to share with you. So, expect more of me within the next few weeks. I’ll be back to share all the details of my trip, life, health, and recipes. ;)

Before I type up my other posts, I wanted to share some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having over the past while.


This picture has become my ultimate favorite. Throughout the past few months, I’ve been striving with increased endeavor to look to the Lord and put His will first in my life. As I’ve done this I have felt His spirit guiding me and helping me through the treacherous storms and waves life throws. This picture reminds me to look to Him. I can bear testimony to you that Christ lives, and I know that He is a God of miracles. I have seen His hand in my life throughout the past few months. Without Him I don’t know how I would have gotten through. He is true Strength. He has worked a miracle in me, and I know He will work a miracle in you too. <3

Always remember that He is there. He is aware of you. He knows you by name, and as you draw near unto Him he will draw near unto you.

with lots of hugs,

Kathleen

It’s okay not to be perfect.









One thing I have learned from my experience with orthrexia – something that was hard for me to accept at first but have now found true – is that a little unbalance balances out the balance. Having a totally stress-free life isn’t ideal because it doesn’t challenge you and help you grow, but not dealing with stress appropriately and letting it take over can really wear you down too. A part of living healthfully is having the right perspective.

I won’t ever be perfect in this life. I can’t. Without my Savior and Redeemer, I am nothing. But to Him, I am everything. I know that He can work miracles in individuals – He’s done that in me. Without His loving guidance and strength, I don’t know where I would be right now. I know that He lives and that He is aware of each of our circumstances. He knows us each by name. He wants to bless us and He will as we turn to Him in faith and humility.

Living up at college has definitely not been stress-free, but I’ve loved every minute of it. Sometimes it’s hard, but my friends and family have really helped me through it. They were there for me when my friend left to serve a mission for our church to share his testimony of Jesus Christ (it was hard since I wouldn’t see him for over 2 years, but I knew the Lord would watch over him). They were there for me when I passed out a few weeks ago (that’s a story in itself). They were there for me on those days where I didn’t know how I would get everything done. They helped remind me that everything will be okay.

I love interacting with my Nutrition teachers and learning from them. My Nutrition instructor from this last semester has truly helped me realize my potential and helped me find the direction I want to go. I’m grateful to have someone I can go talk with whatever the circumstance. I love talking with her and learning from her more about the chemistry associated with nutrition – probably why I’m excited to take the Nutrient Metabolism class from her in the winter.

This weekend I am volunteering at the Wellness Center, Tutoring for Chemistry and Nutrition (I absolutely LOVE tutoring – it’s not “work” for me; I enjoy it, so it’s just a fun time I get to have sharing the things I’ve learn and helping other succeed in their studies), and a date this afternoon with a young man – I think we’re going to fly kites or do miniature golf. I’m not sure. This next week I have a muscle test; I’ve been doing okay with the cadavers – I say a prayer before I go in to ask the Lord to help me through it. They have given their bodies for science, so I’d better learn everything I can from them to appreciate what they’ve done. In my Nutrition class we just finished up nutrition in the toddler to young child age group. I’m working on my case study presentation right now and hope to organize and establish its foundational framework within the next couple days.

I have 3 more weeks of the semester, and then I’ll be back with some more fun and deliciousness! I have about 2 weeks in between the end of the semester and my trip across the east-coast (which will last about 2 ½ weeks – I don’t know if I’ll have access to the internet during that time), so I’ll be able to get back on, catch up with what’s been going on in your lives, and share with you some of my adventures and recent yumminess. I have Quinoa with Oats, GH-Inspired Honey Whole Wheat Bread (I kneaded it by hand and it turned out beautiful!), Carob Chip Banana Oatmeal Muffins, Oven Baked French Fries, Easy Lentil Soup, and a simple Split Pea Soup (I’ve made countless times now and my roommates ADORE it) to share with you, so expect some deliciousness coming your way soon.

with lots of hugs,

Kathleen