Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Easy Peasy Homemade Pudding

I wish I could lay claim to this recipe, but it is yet another find. The only thing I usually change in any recipe is the white sugar. I just don't use it and so I'll substitute it with honey or sucanat (natural unprocessed sugar) or coconut sugar. Either way, use whatever it is you have.

Chocolate Pudding

1/2c. honey or choice sweetener
3T cocoa powder
1/4c. cornstarch or 2 1/2T arrowroot powder
1/8t. salt
2 3/4c. milk
2T butter
1t vanilla

Heat honey, cocoa powder, starch, salt, and milk over med heat. Bring to slow boil and stir constantly. When mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat. Add in butter and vanilla stir and let cool. Serve warm or cold!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup and Pumpkin Cookies

This soup is very good. It has a nice and thick consistancy, good broccoli flavor and it's easy to make. Can't beat that huh. Now the cookies, in my opinion, are absolutely delicious. They are light and fluffy yet very, very moist. Mmmmmm. If you don't like broccoli then try the cookies!

Cream of Broccoli Soup
2T butter
1 onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
4c chicken broth
6-8c broccoli (stalks, leaves, florets, the whole shebang)
3T butter
3T flour
2c milk
1/4c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 pieces cooked bacon crumbled (optional)

Saute onion and celery in 2T butter until translucent. Add broccoli and broth and simmer 15-20 min. Puree 1/2, 3/4, or all the soup, depending on how chunky you like it (a submersible blender works well here). Return to med-low heat.
In a small saucepan over med-high heat melt 3T butter. (If using bacon, add crumbles here, also add up to a tablespoon of bacon grease, this enriches the bacon flavor, not necessary, but good). Stir in flour for 1 min then add milk. Wisk until thick, creamy, and bubbling (careful not to burn). Add to broccoli soup with parmesan. Stir and season to taste. Top with more parm if desired.
*Variation of Best Cream of Broccoli Soup on Allrecipes

Pumpkin Cookies
2 1/2c flour
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
2t ground cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1/4t ground clove
1/2t salt
1/2c butter softened
1 1/2c brown sugar
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 egg
1t vanilla extract

Cream sugar, butter, and pumpkin. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed. In another bowl mix flour, b. powder, b. soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt. Combine mixes in one bowl. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet. You may want to tap them down a little because they won't spread very much. Bake 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool and drizzle with honey, apple butter, or a light glaze if desired.

I made a soft glaze of 4oz cream cheese 1/4c brown sugar, 1T honey, and a splash of milk. I think adding butter to this would allow the glaze to harden more but I didn't want it to.
*Variation of Iced Pumpkin Cookies from Allrecipes

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Ever Delicious Homemade Pizza

I love love love homemade pizza. I especially love it when you've found the right crust to make and for me I have found one. I am still a sucker for the Chef Boyardee pizza sauce (one of the few canned items I still buy), but I do make my own when I'm in a pinch. I found this recipe on of course, and I've only tweeked it a tiny bit because it's really great as is. Here it is:

Jays Signature Pizza Crust (tweeked)
2.25t. yeast or 1 pk dry active yeast
1t honey
1.5c. warm water (110 degrees)
1t. salt
2T. olive oil
3.5-5c flour
3-4T melted butter

1. In a large bowl disolve yeast and honey in warm water. Let sit 10 min.
2. Stir in salt and oil and add 2.5c flour
3. Turn dough out on well floured surface and knead in additional flour until no longer sticky (I find this takes about 10 min and about 2 more cups of flour)
4. Place in well oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size. When ready, punch down and form a tight ball. Let relax 5 min or so before you roll out. *This is when you can divide the dough and freeze half if you want. This recipe makes two bar pan size handtossed quality crusts, one very large, very thick crust, or I guess however you like it.
5. I do recommend baking on a stone if you have one, it crisps the bottom very nicely. If you do not, then oil your pan well, let rise another 15 min then prebake 10 min without your toppings. Remove from oven and top as usual.
6. Before you top your crust, brush exposed crust with melted butter. Now proceed with your toppings. (this part isn't necessary, but it adds more flavor)
7. Bake in a hot oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 min.

If you do not have any pizza sauce on hand there are many many recipes on the web. I make a very simple one using tomato sauce, garlic salt & powder, onion powder, oregano, and basil, all to taste.

So one of these days when I get organized and find my memory, I'll take pictures of these recipes to post for you until then you'll just have to use your imagination!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Pasta Casserole

I've made this a couple times now and we REALLY like it alot! I got it from pioneer woman Ree Drummond she has some really great recipes on her website.

Here it is for you:

2c. cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom/chicken soup
2c. shredded sharp cheddar
1/4c. finely diced green pepper
1/2c. finely diced onion
1 4oz jar pimentos drained
3c. spaghetti broken into 2" pieces
2c. chicken broth (reserved if you cooked a fryer)
1t. seasoned salt
1/8 to 1/4t. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 additional cup shredded cheese

One fryer will yield approx. 2c. chicken. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do no overcook. When cooked combine with remaining ingredients except the 1c. cheese. Place in casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake 350 for 45 min, if cheese browns too much cover with foil. This freezes well before you bake it, (I put the mixture in a gallon ziplock and freeze it flat) or you can refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grilled Cheese on Homemade Bread with Homemade Tomato Soup

Yesterday I finished my soaked bread recipe (if your not familiar with soaking your grains, in short, it makes them more digestible and vitamins are more readily absorbed) here's a link to the recipe I followed. Seriously it was like Aunt Millie stopped and dropped off a couple loaves!

Once the bread was made the rest was easy. I just made regular grilled cheese, nothing fancy. I used sharp cheddar because that's what I had on hand.

For the Tomato Soup, it's super easy. I used:
4 8oz cans of tomato sauce
2T butter
1/4-1/2t onion powder
1/4-1/2t garlic powder
1/4c milk
1/2c water
salt to taste

There you have it. An easy (once the bread is made), healthy, delicious, homemade meal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mexican Rice Bowls

Are you tired of making the same meals every week? Every month? I was to so I decided to make a change. I made a list of everything we like to eat and I mean everything, at home or out at a restaurant. I came up with a chart of approximately 40 or so meals to be made on a monthly basis. If there's something I don't know how to make, I just look up a recipe for it. My meals can change by what I have on hand, or what's on sale in the weekly ads. Anyway this has been working for me and it's been curbing our desire to eat out as often since I'm making a lot of those foods here at home now.

Since I am making these meals at home I can make them as healthy as I want. For example, I made a very delicious chicken pot pie for dinner the other night. I made the crust and the creamy soup inside. I used a free-range chicken and frozen veggies. No cans, nothing artificial, just healthy goodness. So I'll be sharing my recipes with you, daily if possible.

Here's what we had for dinner last night: Mexican Rice Bowl. Taco bell has something similar to this and my sister-in-law makes something close to this as well. Here's my spin:

Rice (I made spanish style using brown, but any rice will do)
Pinto or Black beans
taco style beef (or chicken I only used 1/2 lb for our meal and had some left over)
shredded cheese
sour cream
chopped tomatoes, green onions, black olives, lettuce, whatever...
taco sauce
doritos (optional)

On a nice large plate place a scoop of rice, top with following desired ingredients (i've found that whole beans make the meal less "mushy" than using refried beans, but to each their own) beans, beef, cheese, toppings, and if you like a little crunch then crush some doritos or tortilla chips on top. My kids loved this meal as did my husband.

If you keep a fairly stocked pantry you should only have to buy a couple items to make this meal. I had to purchase an avocado ($1.50), a tomato (.22), green onions (.50), and a can of diced tomatoes & green chilis ($1.00) I added to my rice. My weekly out of pocket for this meal was $3.22. I already had beef, rice, whole beans, lettuce, chips, sour cream, olives, and cheese.

So there you go, easy and delicious Mexican Rice Bowls. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm A Racist and You Could Be Too!

It has come to my attention that I must be a racist. You see I listen to one on the radio at least 3-4 times a week. I support him by tuning in. And you know what's astonishing to me? I usually agree with him 99% of the time (it's usually his food topics I disagree with him about, not his politics).

Rush Limbaugh, for those of you who are not familiar with the story, was rejected as a potential buyer for the Saint Louis Rams. It's being said the rejection was due to racist remarks and his controversial show. Since when did 'truth' and 'racism' start carrying the same definition?

It absolutely infuriates me to hear that the people that care for this country, should we disagree with the liberal flow, are now concidered racist. Rush doesn't have the listener support he has because what he's saying is malicious, slanderous, crude, or improper. He has the support of Americans who do not want to live in a Europe, or a Canada, or anywhere else in this world for that matter. We want to live here in our free country.

So the NFL wants to call me and millions of other Americans racist? Ok, I see. Then they don't need my money or my tv viewing time. That's my turned cheek. I wouldn't want them to receive support from a racist such as myself.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keep Your Lettuce Longer

This summer we had a small garden. We had several different vegetables including a very abundant amount of lettuce. I usually picked it fresh but sometimes when I picked too much I'd put it in a bag and stick it in the fridge. Well one day I didn't have a ziplock to put it in so I used a different bag and oh my gosh did that lettuce last forever (which I know because I had 'found' it in the fridge quite a long time later).

It was a Meijer bag. I know, I know, but I really couldn't believe how long it kept my lettuce fresh and crisp. I mean no slimy goo, no strong or strange smells, no brown or black lettuce, just nice green, crisp, beautiful, lettuce. So since then I've been keeping my lettuce in the Meijer bag. I usually buy a head of green leaf lettuce and when I get home I chop the end off, rinse it, spin it dry, and toss it back in the Meijer bag. While it certainly doesn't keep indefinitely, it will (or seems to) keep longer than in a ziplock and it certainly is cheaper.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh So Yummy Sushi Bowls!!

I love sushi! The 'straight-to-the-brain' effect that too much wasabi can produce can be so very addicting. My cloudy, ginger infused soy sauce mixture just begs for another delicious maki roll to take a quick dip. Oh yeah.
This type of dining however can be a bit expensive. Scott and I can easily spend $50 for the 2 of us a Japanese restaurant (if not more). So here's a way to quench that craving and I can tell you, it's pretty darn near close to being there. Here's what I did:

I like the raw fish rolls and Scott likes the California rolls. This is what you'll need to have on hand. Now if you have to purchase a lot of these items for the first time you might think it's a bit expensive, but you won't have to make these purchases everytime. Trust me that that little tube of wasabi will take you far!

bag of short-med grain white rice
soy sauce
prepared wasabi mix (tubes can be found with the soy sauce)
avocado/cucumber whatever you like in your rolls (I prefer avocado and some california rolls have both)
crab (imitation is used most often, but get what you like)
sesame seeds
tuna steak, or a salmon filet (for you raw fish lovers!)
fresh ginger root (optional)

So there's the list and here's what you do. Cook your rice a little early so you can allow it time to cool. By adding a tablespoon of a sugar/vinegar mix this helps to make your rice more sticky, more sushi like. I personally didn't do this since I was eating it out of a bowl and not rolling it up. If you like the california rolls then just mix your crab meat with some mayo, enough to make it moist but not overpowering. If you're using a raw cut of fish well just cut off how much you like and put the rest back in the freezer. A $4 tuna steak from Kroger will give me 3 sushi bowls. That's not too bad. So now you're ready to assemble!

It doesn't really matter because you'll probably stir it all up anyway but...
we did rice first
then I topped with my raw tuna and Scott his crab/mayo mix
then avocado
sprinkle sesame seeds (you can toast these in a skillet first if you like, I was too hungry to)
and a nice dollop of wasabi
next a generous amount soy sauce
and last but not least I grated fresh ginger over the top of mine (you can also buy the pickled ginger like what they serve there if you like but this works just as well. you can put the gingerroot in a baggie and throw it in your freezer until the next time too!)

So there you have it. Sushi easily made in your own kitchen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm back.

Ok so here I go again. I keep trying this blogging thing and maybe this time it will stick. I've had a rough one these past 6 months, but I think I'm ready to take this on once again. So quick recap, my mother passed away in April from the horrible beast of breast cancer (I hate you breast cancer), but more on the positive side I am expecting another baby!! Due to arrive sometime in February. So I survived the first trimester woes and I'm approaching the half way point. Thank you Lord!

Well that's good for today, I don't want to over do it :) I'll be back with more I promise and maybe someone out there will read it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Soap Nuts??

Ever heard of using soap nuts?? Well I hadn't either until I found them on this blog. They are pretty interesting I must admit. They are actually what they're name suggests. You use them mainly for a laundry detergent replacement but they have many uses. Go here to learn more!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eating Itinerary 5/11-5/17

I believe many of our health problems today are caused mainly by fungal toxins (a.k.a. mycotoxins). We unknowingly eat a large variety of contaminated food on a daily basis. This diet is about starving the fungus already in our body and limiting how much we take in. It is about replenishing the good flora and bacteria we've lost due to all the antibiotics we take. There are 3 phases to this diet. I will be sharing the 2nd phase because I am a nursing mother. The first phase is more restrictive on your carbs.

Don't misunderstand this diet, it is not just another 'low-carb diet'. Fungus feeds on sugar and carbs and unfortunately much of our grain supply is contaminated by mycotoxins especially corn. Here's what you should start to avoid: corn and all corn products, peanuts/pistachios and all peanut products, yeast, sugar, mushrooms, and cheese (with a few exceptions such as goat).So until then here's what my menu looks like for this week

B- eggs n bacon (uncured and no-sugar)
L- tortillas w/cream cheese, sliced lunch meat, veggies (green onion, lettuce, cucumber...), fruit (strawberries & blueberries)
D-Spaghetti w/Prego Marinara, diced tomatoes, maybe some zucchini, salad w/sunflower seeds, cucumbers, green peppers, and o/v dressing w/Mrs. Dash.

B- frozen fruit shake- 1c. yogurt, 1c. frozen fruit, stevia to taste dash of oj or water. Blend well
L- leftover spaghetti
D- taco salad- ground beef (preferably grass-fed) seasoned with 1-2T. chili powder, 2t. garlic powder, 1t. cumin, 2t. salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper if desired. Add to that rinsed can black beans. mix well with beef. Top lettuce with beef/bean mixture, tomatoes, avocado, black olives, onion/green onion, salsa, sour cream, and toasted flour tortilla crumbs if desired.

B- eggs n sausage
L- sliced ham w/carrots and dip (dip= equal parts sour cream and cream cheese mixed with a combo of Mrs. Dash, garlic powder and salt blend to taste, add 2 tablespoons to cream mixture)
D- homemade meatballs w/fried rice- 1lb ground beef & 1/2lb sausage, 1egg, ground oat flour (made by putting oatmeal in the blender) garlic powder, salt, minced onion, bake 350 40 min. prepare rice as normal. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet (preferably sesame oil) add onion, green peps, whatever veggies, and some scrambled egg. Add rice and meatballs.

B- shake probably
L- leftover rice
D- it's my birthday we're having sushi! (probably 90% legal)

B- eggs n bacon or sausage or both?!
L- leftovers if any or salad
D- something easy, maybe spaghetti, or homemade legal baked beans with sausage

B- shake
L- grill burgers maybe?
D- fend for yourself (ffy)

B- shake
L- out with family
D- tortilla wraps

Snacks- I eat baby carrots with dip non-stop just about, I'll also eat an apple or other fruit, but mostly veggies and dip. For fruit you can only have berries, citrus fruits, and green apples. Also you should really only be drinking water or green tea. I like to buy 2-liters of sparkling water then add some lemon or lime to it. You can also make lemon-ade with real lemons and adding stevia to taste.

Ok so there's the shake down for my house this week. I know there are carbs in my meals but research has found rice and oats to be pretty safe. Also with pasta, the mycotoxins cook out in the water and are lost when the pasta is drained. As for the tortillas, make sure you read your ingredient labels, no yeast, corn, or sugar allowed. You may have to hunt but it's worth it. You may also cut out the carbs entirely for faster results.

Thanks and good luck!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Change of Life

In the wake of my moms funeral I've spent some time thinking about how I would treat cancer should that happen to me. I decided that the results of both a convential method or a nonconvential method would yield better if my body was in a healthier state to begin with. While I may not have made a definite decision on which method I would choose, I have made the decision to prevent what I can by changing what I eat.

I would like to encourage anyone who has and/or doesn't want any aches and pains, headaches, inflammation, extra weight, stomach problems, skin problems, or anything else to join me in a change of life. This is more than just changing your food, it's making the decision to take your health care into your own hands. I don't want chemo to be my only option because my body is so weak. I've seen one choice and I don't want to die the way my mom did.

I will post my weekly menu along with snack ideas and other treats. I will provide where I am getting my information and if you are interested in doing or knowing more then this will help you.

I, personally, am not doing this for weight loss alone but more for the care of my health. Weight loss will happen regardless. I don't know that my actions won't prevent cancer, but at least I'll know that I tried.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here's A Rake

So with spring coming in full swing now, I actually went out to tend to my land. Ah yes my land, the ever so large 127x33 sweet piece of land I own downtown. It may not be much but I can definitely call it my own. As I am out with my garden rake ripping up weeds and cultivating the soil I was met with the most amazing aroma. Could dirt smell this good?

My house is the small oasis of color and plant life in my neighborhood. We're not on welfare or food stamps. I have a husband who works and has never been to jail. Our fence isn't sagging (yet), and our yard is clean. So how is it that we, a young couple on one income, with 2 small children, could possibly care about our home? I mean it's pretty obvious that no one else in the neighborhood does.

My children are getting restless. They're telling me it's time to eat. I set the rake aside and look at the blisters that have already formed and broke on my thumbs. The sweet scent that I tilled up is there for everyone. For those who work for it. So here's a rake.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

For My Mom

I don't know who coined this phrase but I don't ever want to hear it again. Whoever first referred to someone as having "lost their battle to cancer" obviously didn't sit there and watch the fight.

I had front row tickets that I didn't want. For almost 20 years I watched my mom go round and round with this wicked disease, but not for one instant would I ever say she lost her battle. Her cancer is dead, not her. She is still living and her life is even more amazing than she could have ever imagined.

Cancer is like a tangible sin. It's as though the devil himself has reached up from the depths of hell and touched you. While this demon of cancer may slowly suffocate your earthly body, it can never reach your soul or your spirit, not on its own anyway. This is something you have to give up yourself, it can't just come and take it. Though the body may be dying, the spirit thrives and strengthens.

Nancy Reese defeated cancer, that's what's in that box. Not her.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Short/Long Hiatus

Since starting this blog we've moved and my mother has passed away. Between grieving and putting boxes away (with 2 small boys) I just can't find the time to keep current. Hopefully that will be changing soon and I can get the kick start that I desperately need.

So for today here's what I have to say:
At least once a day don't second guess yourself. I know it sounds simple, but you'll find that more often than not we don't follow our first instinct. At least not initially. I suggest you give it a try (especially if spring cleaning) you'll find your decision making process much easier and you'll feel more confident about yourself *plus you'll get rid of WAY more junk than you would have before, if you're first instinct is a 'yes I want this' then keep it. If it isn't than gift or garage sale it. We keep things like there isn't a WalMart/KMart/Meijer/Sams/Goodwill/ect... right down the road.

Anyway best of luck to you and hopefully I'll be back before the month is over!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Practical Tip Tuesday

I've been gone for a minute, we were getting our computer fixed... that always sucks! Anyway I'm putting in my practical tip for Tuesday on Monday night. I know I won't have time otherwise. So here goes...

A Helpful Tip For Your Weekly Menu:

Most, if not all of us, have a few meals we make all the time. You could have as few as 2 or 3, or as many as 15 or 20. Either way we all have something. One of the best tips I was given was to plan your weekly meals around the Sunday circular ads. Instead of planning what your going to have for the week and then trying to shop for it, you look at the weekly ads and see what's on sale. Between the food on sale and what you already have in your pantry you should be able to assemble a menu rather quickly.

For example, one dinner I like to make is hero sandwiches. Everyone has a different name for them but they're just your basic meatball and sausage. Now, I know this is something I make periodically so when I see ingredients for my meals on sale I buy them. Last week there was some sweet Italian sausage on sale so I bought it. I have frozen meatballs from one week when Meijer had them on sale. This week Prego (which is what I like) is on sale and so are Aunt Millies deli buns. Dole salad mix is also on sale. I'll add green peppers and onions which I already have from last week. I'll make this probably for Thursday night.

Anyway you probably get the idea. It's not a difficult one but I will admit that it was difficult to adjust to. It's like working a crossword. You have your menu on the side there and you have to find the ingredients in the fliers. Well anyway it has definately been a money saver for me. I rarely buy anything at full price and if you have a coupon for it it makes it even better!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Take A Hike Pat White

Please WOWO for the sake of your listeners give Pat White the hike!
There are some of us who like to listen to your station about local events in the 3:00-6:00 time slot; currently though I am forced to listen to 610am out of Ohio because their host is funny and tolerable.
Don't change the format, or even the topics... just the host please.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Clean Is Your Hair?

A week or so ago I decided to stop using shampoo and conditioner. In the winter, I always get a very dry scalp and right now I'm nursing. I didn't want to use anything heavily medicated for my hair so I decided to go for a dip into the ole' world wide web and see what I could find.

Baking soda and apple cider vinegar is what I've settled on and I don't wash it everyday. I have seen a very big difference in my scalps well being. It isn't as itchy or flakey. I take a small palm full of the b. soda (1/2-1 Tablespoon), get it slightly wet and massage it into the scalp. Obviously this will not lather up like normal soap but the point of washing your hair is to clean it and this definately does the trick. The rinse is what you can play with and by this I mean you can add scents and essential oils. I'm not quite there yet because I wanted to see if there were results with just plain vinegar first. Now that I know there are I'll probably take on infusing my vinegar with herbs to suit my needs.

Here is one site I've found that was pretty helpful:

While I know this isn't for everyone there is something freeing about not being reliant upon industry, this is their kick in the pants.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Practical Tip Tuesday

Super Easy Oatmeal Bars

I usually have these on hand and we eat them for breakfast with some fruit or as an after dinner treat! I use honey instead of sugar and decrease the water to 1/2. They're good both ways and I add different things each time I make them...

1 c. Sugar
2/3 c. Water
1 c. PeanutButter
1 T. Vanilla
5 c. Whole Oats
1 c. Chocolate Chips (or raisins or peanutbutter chips)

Heat in saucepan water, sugar and pb. When sugar disolves cool 3 min and add vanilla. Stir in oats and choc chips. Press into 9x13 pan (I've never had any problems with not greasing it) refrigerate 2hrs. Nice simple recipe, no fat and very tasty! (T=tablespoon)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

While we still can...

Read the bible in public (like a park or coffee shop)
Paddle our children
Own and operate a wood burner in the home
Outdoor grilling and campfires
Sing Christmas songs about Jesus
Nativity scenes
Fourth of July fireworks (unless they're green!)
Home births (already taken from us here in Indiana)
Fast Food
Natureopathy/Homeopathy (until the AMA takes it over)
Free Speach
Arm ourselves

Taking the high road doesn't always have to be a quiet one. Speak up for what you hold to be true... what you believe. Our children are watching us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Practical Tip Tuesday

Ok so here's my tip: How to easily double your expensive jam

I've only done this with the 'simply fruit' type of jam not jelly so I'm not sure how it would work but anyway when you have an empty jar of jam, save it. Then when you buy jam again take half out, add some water (i buy the small jars so i only add about 1/4-1/3 cup water per half), then heat thru in the microwave until just hot. Pour back into the jar and refrigerate. That's it. It gels back up and will be firm just like before. If your unsure then just start out with less water, but anyway it's a great way to make your jam last longer, definitely worth it for us!