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Diet Help from My Pal

Foot surgery that requires that I elevate my foot
 
I have recently had foot surgery that requires that I elevate my foot for the majority of the day. Imagine you were told you would need to sit with your feet up most of the day for several weeks. Not a completely unpleasant thought, but what would be your greatest concern? My greatest concern was what the house would look like by the time I could move again. In a close second, was how much weight would I gain just sitting around all day?
 
 
Diet Help from My PalI have a disorder of the endocrine system that makes it very easy for me to gain weight. My dietician suggested I try My Fitness Pal, a free online program to help me track what I eat and how much I exercises. I have found it to be a great help during this convalescence period, and I think I will continue to use it once I am better.
 
We all could use a little help from time to time, so I thought I would share it with on my blog. I am a believer in moderation in everything, even desert. This program is helpful in suggesting what is a moderate serving size, and this helps me stay on track.
 
 
Exactly what is MyFitnessPal?
 
It is a free smartphone application and web-sight that is located in the cloud and tracks diet and exercise to determine ideal calorie and nutrient totals to meet my goals. I find it motivating. It gives me a day by day estimate of what I will weigh in 5 weeks if I continue to eat as I did today and graphs how I am doing. For my computer savvy friends, it uses gamification elements to help motivate users. In a 2015 Consumer Reports article, MyFitnessPal was rated the best free diet program in overall satisfaction, "maintenance, calorie awareness, and food variety”.
 
Tracking
 
Tracking food
The first time I eat a food I enter the name of the food or scan the bar-code to find the item in a large database of over 5 million foods. The first time I enter a food, it is honestly a bit of a pain finding which food to enter from such a large list. It is easier to work with a computer than a smart phone because the screen is much bigger. However, after it is in my list of foods, I can just select foods eaten from a list of my most frequently eaten foods with an easy quick click. I can instantly know how much I ate and make adjustment quickly. For travelers, be aware the same food item may contain several variation of the caloric count depending on which country the food item was purchased.
 
Tracking exercise
Basically I am not exercising at all now, but MyFitnessPal has different exercises and sometimes the same exercise at different intensities or speeds. The user enters the number of minutes spent exercising and the calories spent is calculated. The calories spent on the exercise is added to the total number of calories that the user should eat per day.
 
MyFitnessPal can also be linked to a FitBit as well as Jawbone account allowing activity to automatically be calculated into daily calories allowed.
 
Tracking exercise
 

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The Jam Scientist

I have been counting my blessings today. I would like to share some of my list this Thanksgiving:

Count Your Blessings

...Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!...

Count Your Blessings | Johnson Oatman, Jr.
 
  1. The Fellowship of the Mystery - That's what Pastor David Guzik calls God's intervention in our lives to change us; yes, it is a great mystery, and I am most thankful for this!
  2. I find it almost miraculous to have found contentment in my marriage of over ten years. My brilliant, loving, geeky, helpful, husband, The Professor, who values and cares for me. He takes care of me and even cleans out the house gutters! He also comes from a wonderful caring family that have embraced me as a member.
  3. My children - I was/am blessed to have been able to give birth to three wonderful people that I love, and love me in return. You see, there were times I wondered if I would ever have children, and I am so grateful I was blessed with them.
  4. My grandchildren - wonderful to see little ones growing up, and to be part of their lives.
  5. My extended family - as I grow older I see more clearly how remarkable they are, and were.
  6. My church - a place to know and be known and hear God's word. blessed Thanksgiving
  7. A home with room for my Dad and a yard filled with my favorite plants. A storage building that is just the right size. A house panted a color that I like. A neighborhood with many nice and safe places to walk.
  8. Visiting birds that entertain in the garden.
  9. Appliances to make life easier, a good dishwasher, a microwave that heats food in moments, older Maytag washer and dryer that are reliable and easy to fix, ceiling fans that work, and a knife sharpener that keeps my knives sharp.
  10. Sewing machines that work well and are easy to work with.
  11. Nice reading lights, ceiling light, and task lights.
  12. Some lovely art work that reminds me of people and places that I care about.
  13. A reliable and comfortable car.
  14. Many of you know I have a learning disability. I am a certified terrible speller. I am grateful for my computer that helps to mitigated my issues, and grateful for help in keeping it working.
  15. Dad's and our dog, Spot, my Editorial and Procurement Assistant, and good companion.
  16. Proximity to an excellent local library
  17. Adult diapers for those that need them.
THOU that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more,—a grateful heart...
Gratefulness
By George Herbert

 

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The Jam Scientist

Press Release - Best Little Jam House Announces New Staff Position

I have some wonderful news to share! Best Little Jam House is doing so well I have decided to open a new full time staff position even at this early stage in my business. Our new staffer has already joined our team. In fact, without her interest and enthusiasm, this blog would not be thriving as it is! Therefore, without any further ado I will introduce her to you! The new staff member is dad's our faithful companion, Spot! She is being promoted from status of family member to the position of Editorial and Procurement Assistant.    

Editorial and Procurement Assistant
Spot - Editorial and Procurement Assistant

Spot knows she will need to earn her keep.  Her main responsibility is to support me as I write. She will also accompany me on procurement errands.

Spot supporting me as I write
Spot by my side supporting me as I write

Spot is a somewhat shy older lady who prefers to remain in the background out of the spotlight. In fact she absolutely HATES the flash of the camera and is quite shy of it. She is, however, very observant. She alerts me to any strange noises or odd goings on around the house. She came to live with us last year when my dad moved in with us. She loves to sit or lie near me. In fact, I can hardly sit down without having her insist on imparting a few moments of encouragement to me.

Shy Spot
Shy Spot

And that’s the news about our new staff here at Best Little Jam House! Thanks so much for taking the time to find out a few things about her!  I know you will support her as she adjusts to her new role. Spot appreciates it.

Spot Appreciates Your Support
Spot Appreciates Your Support

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The Jam Scientist

Best Little Jam House - HOME

Welcome to Best Little Jam House a blog committed to safe home canning, pickling, and preserving of food in jars, and involved in all things "home."  Written by a certified food scientist for your peace of mind.


Most Recent Posts (Links to posts in blue)

The Jam Scientist

Who is The Jam Scientist?

  • About The Jam Scientist and The Professor - When Life Gives You Lemons - Make Marmalade (more)
  • Family Album - I met and fell in love with this brainy yet fun loving physics professor at a bible study. He is one of the kindest men I have ever met, and a true southern gentleman! Our grandchildren adore him! I love his southern accent, his mind, humor, and all the rest of him!(more)
  • Press Release - Best Little Jam House Announces New Staff Position - Best Little Jam House is doing so well I have decided to open a new full time staff position even at this early stage in my business. Our new staffer has already joined our team. In fact, without her interest and enthusiasm, this blog would not be thriving as it is! (more)
  • I have been counting my blessings today. I would like to share some of my list this Thanksgiving - My list starts with The Fellowship of the Mystery - That's what Pastor David Guzik calls God's intervention in our lives to change us; yes, it is a great mystery, and I am most thankful for this! My list ends with thankfulness for adult diapers for those that need them. (more)
  • Diet Help from My Pal - My dietician suggested I try My Fitness Pal, a free online program to help me track what I eat and how much I exercises. I have found it to be a great help during this convalescence period, and I think I will continue to use it once I am better. (more)

 

Apricot-Almond Chutney

Apricots

  • Apricot-Almond Chutney - This is great chutney. This is absolutely my, and The Professor's, favorite chutney!!! If you have time to smoke the dried apricots and onion everyone will consider you to be a domestic goddess. Yes, smoking adds that much flavor and complexity! (more)

  Home Canned Applesauce - What apples. in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid.

Apples

  • Home Canned Applesauce - What apples, in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid - Creating your own signature blend is simple by using unexpected ingredients and regional apple varieties. (more)
  • Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten - This lovely pink applesauce has subtle complexity that will be appreciated by adults, but is still enjoyable to children. (more)
  • Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar, Tall Taste - My go-to applesauce, sweetened with concentrated apple juice and less sugar. This recipe is a staple. I made over 40 pints and it will not last the year. (more)
  • Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays - This tart little conserve would work well as a condiment for meat or cheese; it could also be an alternative to cranberry sauce, (think Thanksgiving) or work as jelly (good as a topping for muffins). (more)
  • The flavor of freshly baked gingerbread in a jar - Easy Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly - I believe I got this new recipe spot-on. It is easy to make, can be done in less than an hour, and has the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread! This recipe turned out sooo good I thought twice about releasing it on the internet. In the end I decided to share. (more)

 Whole Grain Skillet Cornbread

Bread

Healthy Whole Grain Southern Style Skillet Cornbread - Now is the time for a nice pot of soup with a piece of warm cornbread. My favorite cornbread recipe from Ruth Reichl's The Gourmet Cookbook uses 100% whole grain stone ground cornmeal, and a hot skillet. (more)

 

Flavored salts 

 

 

 

 

Condiments

  • Kitchen Hack: Super easy 10 minute "canned" flavored salt - Use this simple and quick tactic to spice up your life, or to make an easy homemade gift. (more)
  • It's not too late! There is still time to make homemade mustard - Home mustard making is easy to do. Look at The Jam Scientist's Notebook section of this post to learn tips for controlling and utilizing mustard's natural kick. A set of mustards would make a wonderful gift.(more)

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve

 Cranberries  

  • Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays - This tart little conserve would work well as a condiment for meat or cheese; it could also be an alternative to cranberry sauce, (think Thanksgiving) or work as jelly (good as a topping for muffins). (more)
  • Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten - This lovely pink applesauce has subtle complexity that will be appreciated by adults, but is still enjoyable to children. (more)
  • Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Relish - Kick the cranberry sauce in the tin can to the side. I never like it anyway. Here are few of my favorite alternatives... (more)

  Brisket in a food safe plastic bag with brine

Curing Meat

Corning, or Pickling, a Beef Brisket All By Myself - Really, It's Not Hard! This year I am actually corning, or pickling, my own beef before Saint Patrick's Day (more)

 

Ham Dinner

Dinner

  • Easy three-step, gloriously rich and thick, do-ahead turkey gravy recipe that makes everything easier...This gravy makes Thanksgiving day a breeze by making gloriously rich and thick gravy ahead of time by using turkey parts. This recipe is adapted from The Best of America's Test Kitchen, so you know its good!(more)
  • Kitchen Hack: Super easy five minute tactic to take your ham up a notch - This simple and quick tactic works on any ham, be it spiral, canned, or bone-in to intensify flavor, add moisture, and presence to an ordinary ham. (more)
  • My advice: brine your turkey (or that pork loan), but skip all those complicated recipes - easy is best! Brining makes an enormous difference in succulence - no exaggeration! However, this does not need to be a big production or expense. All things being equal, simple is best! (more)
  • My advice: Put a rub on it (for turkey or that pork loan), but skip all those expensive store bought concoctions - fresh and easy is best! Super easy 15 minute tactic to remarkably increase flavor and appearance of your fowl or pork! Rubs are easy, easy, easy, so don't stress about this. Feel free to add or subtract spices and herbs as you like, and make this your own. (more)
  • Oh boy that's good soup... Easy Posole, or Chicken and Hominy Soup The weather is perfect for this easier version of a classic Mexican dish. This soup is quick, easy, and good for you. (more)

 

Garden

 

 

 

 

Garden

  • If you've always wanted to plant a vine or two,  build and grow an extensive grape arbor, or start your own vineyard, January's the month to get it started with bare root plants from the nursery center, or starting your own cuttings using (often free) grape cuttings!(more)

 

Gingerbread Spice

Gingerbread Spice

  • The flavor of freshly baked gingerbread in a jar - Easy Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly - I believe I got this new recipe spot-on. It is easy to make, can be done in less than an hour, and has the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread! This recipe turned out sooo good I thought twice about releasing it on the internet. In the end I decided to share. (more)
  • Kitchen Hack: Super easy five minute tactic to turn any pancake or waffle recipe into gingerbread - Why settle for ordinary? Use this simple and quick tactic that works with any pancake or waffle recipe, be it homemade, mix from a box, or gluten-free to taste just like gingerbread. Have them every week, or save them for Christmas, however you like. (more)
  • Gingerbread Spice Quick Drop Cookies - all the rich spices of gingerbread without all the work!- soft, chewy, quick drop cookies, loaded with ginger and cinnamon. (more)

pomegranate's arils

Pomegranates

  • How do I seed and juice pomegranates? -This is my personal method for making wonderfully clear juice. (more)
  • Pomegranate Jelly with Blended Habanero Chili - Hot and Sweet (It's Addicting) -If you like your jelly hot and sweet - this one's for you. (more)

 

Albion Strawberry Jam

Strawberries

  • Strawberry Jam: It Isn't Just for June Anymore - Inaugural Issue of Best Little Jam House - Albion Strawberry Jam is the stuff that dreams are made from. I have been waiting all year to make some of this fall jam. (more)
  • Strawberry Jam with Fresh Mint and Black Pepper - Adapted from Christine Ferber's Strawberry Jam Recipe - French Style Strawberry Jam (more)

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The Jam Scientist

Family Album

The ProfesserThe Professor - I met and fell in love with this brainy yet fun loving physics professor at a bible study. He is one of the kindest men I have ever met, and a true southern gentleman! Our grandchildren adore him. I love his southern accent, his mind, humor, and all the rest of him!

 

Fair jam 2015 croped

Fair Winner - A couple of years ago I entered our local fair for the first time. I won several first place ribbons. Not bad for a beginner.

 

 

  Dad

This is my dad - we call him grandpa now. He could build anything, and fix anything . He was the one who always understood me. When I was a child, he even understood my need to have a pet duck. Now it is my turn to help him.

 

 

 

Spot

My dad's dog Spot. She is part of our family now. This has been a big adjustment for her. She once lived on ten acres without a fence.  Now she is learning to be a house dog, ride in a car, and walk in a busy neighborhood. She is adjusting very well.

 

Lee grandchildrenMy Grandmother Lee pictured with my brother and me. She was an interior designer with great creativity and flair that she marketed in her own shop. She was also a sophisticated cook that appreciated gourmet touches.

 

 

This is my Grandmother Low (below). She canned quart jars by the hundred. There was little she did not know how to grow, prepare, and preserve. She was also a wonderful sausage maker with a down-home southern style that once eaten was not to be forgotten Grandma Low

To read the story of how The Jam Scientist and The Professor met and fell in love click here.

 

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The Jam Scientist

About The Jam Scientist and The Professor

Golden acorn logo!!! copy

Why start Best Little Jam House?
When Life Gives You Lemons - Make Marmalade

This little business was conceived during a drastic life change. My father became seriously ill and came to live with us. Of course he needed physical care, but with him also came boxes of family history that need cataloging, and vintage furniture that needs refinishing. I never dreamed how stressful relocating an elder would be. Mountains of paper and photos to go through, doctor's appointment by the score, trying to find one's way through a lifetime of business records. The stress of cleaning out, renovating, and selling dad's house remotely from 500 miles away is an experience I hope I never repeat.

I am now slowly gaining sanity and some semblance of routine. I continue to be busy care-giving, but I also realize that I have missed my hobby of making preserves. I found my instincts as a hunter-gatherer starting to awaken in this stressful time. There is something calming about stirring a bubbling pot of jam, something reassuring about stacking the jars in the pantry and knowing we have plenty, and something prudent about stretching the family budget in a one paycheck family. This blog is a way to channel these instincts and desires into a business. It is a way to continue my profession as a food scientist while being present for my dad in his time of need, and a way to express some pleasure and creativity during a difficult time. Wish me luck!

About The Jam Scientist
Okay - you have professional credentials, but who are you really?

Hi! I’m Beth, aka The Jam Scientist. I have a degree in food science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. I have professional training in canned food safety through the University of California at Davis earning a Better Process Control School certificate. I have many years of industry experience working in canneries and the food/beverage industry.

I am one of the lucky ones. I met and fell in love with a brainy physics professor at a bible study. Our love has never faltered - he still sends shivers up my spine. I am also a mother of twins plus a singleton - now all grown. Our immediate family has recently expanded to include my dad and his large dog Spot. We live in a small town in Southern California. We bought a small fixer-upper home a couple of years ago that we are slowly transforming as we are able, and it still needs work.
I was greatly influenced by my mother and both my grandmothers, and blessed from their talents. The women in my family can cook - homemade pies, cakes, bread, biscuits, cornbread, preserves, jams, pickles, sauerkraut, and homemade sausage. Nobody ever left the table empty. One grandmother lived on a remote homestead in Oklahoma for a time. In the summer she canned quart jars by the hundred. There was little she did not know how to grow, prepare, and preserve. She was a wonderful preserver and sausage maker with a down-home southern style that I will never forget. My second grandmother was an exceptional interior designer with great creativity and flair in all that she did. She was also a sophisticated cook that appreciated and used gourmet touches. Both were strong, talented, and hard working women that influenced my desire to study food science as a profession. From these women I learned to appreciate thrift, style, self-sufficiency, and the enjoyment of all things home.

Feel free to peek into our Family Photo Album .

Best Little Jam House Layout

In addition to blog recipes you will see:

  • The Professor's Rating - where my husband's reaction can be found. 
  • Will the product have a place into our pantry?  Not every product will be good enough to earn a spot in our pantry. 
  • The Jam Scientist's Notebook - where technical issues about the product will be discussed.

 

 

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The Jam Scientist