Easy Grape Jam

I really miss grape jelly and jam. But I found a very easy recipe for a jam that is fresh with a great taste.

Grape Jam

  • 2 lbs. fresh dark purple grapes
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter (the butter will stop foam from forming on your jam)

Wash and drain the grapes. Mash them a bit with your hands or a potato masher. Add sugar, lemon juice and butter. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes stirring often.  Drain using a fine mesh strainer and using a pestle or back of a large spoon squeeze all the juice out of the seeds and skin. Discard seeds and pour the juice back into the saucepan to cook for another 20-25 minutes. Take a small dish and place in the freezer.  After 20 minutes of cooking take a small amount of the jam and place on the frozen dish, if it spreads out you need to cook longer. If it sets up you can jar immediately.  Make sure your jars and lids have been serialized.  This recipe should make two – eight ounce jars, refrigerate.


Fast, easy and fresh.

Georgia Style Boiled Peanuts

Often Gonzalo, the veggie and fruit vendor, has raw peanuts for sale. We love hot Georgia style boiled peanuts and today he had bags and bags of them ready for me to cook up.


Georgia Style Boiled Peanuts

  • 2 pounds of raw unshelled peanuts
  • enough fresh water to cover the peanuts completely plus 2 inches more
  • 1/2 cup sea salt (do not use the salt with fluoride added)
  • 2 tablespoons mesquite seasoning or other seasoning mix could be Old Bay or your special blend
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes

Wash the peanuts until the water runs clear. Peanuts are covered in mud and need to be cleaned well, scrub them together with your hands and flush several times with water.  Add peanuts, water to cover and spices to your pot and put on to boil. It can take several hours of boiling but check after 1 1/2 hours and see if the peanuts are soft.  Mine were done in 1 1/2 hours.

Drain and go crazy.  They are wonderful especially still warm.

My Mother’s Day Treat

Our neighbors, Erica and Jhon have the most precious four-month old baby boy. While I was having him visit at our house on Mother’s Day Joe took this picture.  He is just so precious and because I have missed holding my niece Jackie’s baby Ava and my other niece Samantha’s two beautiful babies Corrine and Anthony I am getting my Great Aunt lovin from Jhon.


Could you just eat him up…and at only four months he is standing and kicking his feet like he will be walking very soon.

Sweet Pickle Relish

Both Joe and I grew up using sweet pickle relish in our tuna, elbow macaroni and egg salads so when I looked for it in Mi Comisariato and saw the price I decided that I needed to learn how to make some from scratch. Cucumbers and onions are inexpensive here and how hard could it be to chop them up, add some sugar and vinegar?

Well, not hard at all. Here is my recipe:

Sweet Pickle Relish

  • 8- 10 medium-sized cucumbers
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 large green or red peppers (red peppers look nicer in the jar)
  • 1/4 cup of sea salt

Peel and de-seed cucumbers, de-seed peppers and put in food processor, I used the disk that shreds this time and it gave it more of a texture instead of using the chopper which made it very fine.  Chop the onion. Add 1/4 cup of sea salt, please do not use the salt that has fluoride in it.  Add cold water to cover all ingredients and set aside for 2 hours.


Next make the pickling base:

  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

in a large pot add the above 5 ingredients bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved.


Now take your cucumber mixture and drain and squeeze moisture out and add to sugar mixture bringing back to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.



Clean and disinfect about 7 pint jars and lids. Fill jars, clean rims and put on lids. In a large pot half filled with boiling water place all jars and bring water back to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water bath and let cool covered with a dish towel out of a draft.  The lids should pop and be slightly indented, if they are not refrigerate and use within two weeks.


Joe wants to know, “Now, where’s the hot dogs and mustard!”

David Zambrano, Artist

I learned something new today. I learned that David our neighbor is an artist. Today I went to his house looking for his lovely wife Helena and what I found was David working on the second painting below.

This first painting hangs in a prominent spot in the David’s family dining room.


This next one is an unfinished work.


I do not know much about art but I do know what I like and I like both of these paintings.  Anyone need any original artwork for their home?

Investing in the Local Economy

Ever since we moved here to San Clemente our neighbor David Zambrano has helped us with so many jobs around this house I can no longer remember all of them.  While we were staying in Manta, David took care of our home, our yard and our plants.  When we came back my plants were more beautiful and lush than I could ever had gotten them.  I do feel he has a green thumb.

David is great with electrical or plumbing problems but on occasion he has done some small woodworking for me as well as small concrete jobs along with a bit of painting. If he cannot do it he will find someone who can.

When the earthquake hit on April 16th, Joe got me out of the house but we were in shock, we just sat on lawn chairs out on the driveway.  David and his brother Pilli made a quick check of all the neighbors and then came back to get Joe and I.  They walked us through our house sweeping a path through the debris as they got us into our bedroom and found us shoes, shirts and flashlights. They found two folding chairs on our patio and walked us down the street to a waiting car, where we were treated like royalty and taken up the hill to Pepita’s home to wait out the tsunami warning.  David came back several hours later and took us to our home. Again, he needed to sweep a path to be able to get to the bathroom and into bed.  I cannot explain how much this meant to Joe and I.  It took us days to stop trembling when we felt an aftershock and some of those aftershocks measured over 6.

Now we are starting the work that we have been planning for the house for the past year.  This is the time to do it, this is the time to invest in this community so it can heal. If you have projects that you are looking to do in the next year, I ask that you do those projects now, infusing money into the local economy.

So far we have contracted to have wood cabinets built for our kitchen, a block and concrete wall built at the back of our property and bamboo fencing for two additional walls in our yard. This is not replacement for damage done it is all new items that we were planning to add over the next several years. Next we will be hiring maestros to build two doors for the back walkway as well as a new wood gate for our drive.

Many people are not working right now, have no income coming in and have damage to their own property. If you are living in Ecuador and are thinking about investing in your property and can give work to those in your community please do it now.

It will make a difference in the quality of life right here in Ecuador.



A Prayer for Victims of the Earthquake in Ecuador

25 years of walking with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador

A Prayer for Victims of the Earthquake in Ecuador

God of mercy and compassion
in solidarity we pray for the victims
of the earthquake in Ecuador.

We mourn the death of loved ones
and the destruction of homes and property
that are the fruit of hard work and struggle.
We pray for those who died in this disaster.
May their souls rest in peace.
May their families be comforted.

We pray for the living survivors.
Be with them, O God, in this traumatic time.
May they experience Your healing,
In their spirits as well as their bodies.

We pray for the communities affected.
May they come together in solidarity
To rebuild and to affirm new life.

We know that so many of the people
effected by the earthquake live on the margins
And thus live precariously already.
Like Jesus was when he encountered
the marginalized and poor of Galilee
with tenderness and mercy,
let the world be moved to act in news ways
to bring aid, sustenance and relief.

And, in our merciful response,
so that the lives of the impoverished
and vulnerable not only be restored
to the conditions in which they suffered
before the earthquake,
Let us seek with them out of rubble,
the creation of a more just and loving world.

We offer this prayer and our solidarity
in the name of Jesus Christ.


Una oración por las víctimas del terremoto en Ecuador

Dios de la misericordia y la compasión,
en solidaridad oramos por las víctimas
del terremoto en Ecuador.

Lamentamos la muerte de seres queridos
y la destrucción de viviendas y bienes
que son el fruto del trabajo duro y el sacrificio.

Oramos por aquellos que murieron en este desastre.
Que sus almas descansen en paz.
Y que sean consolados sus familias.

Oramos por los victimas sobrevivientes.
Estar con ellos, o Dios, en este momento traumático.
Que puedan experimentar su curación,
En su espíritu, así como sus cuerpos

Oramos por las comunidades afectadas.
Que se unen en solidaridad
Para reconstruir y para afirmar una nueva vida.

Sabemos que tanta gente afectada por el terremoto
ya viven precariamente en los márgenes,
al igual que Jesús fue cuando se encontraba
los marginados y los pobres de Galilea
con ternura y misericordia,
que nos conmuevan a actuar de maneras nuevas.
para ofrecer la ayuda, el sustento y el alivio.

Y en nuestra respuesta misericordiosa,
así que las vidas de los empobrecidos
y vulnerable no sólo ser restaurado
a las condiciones que los sufrían antes del terremoto,
busquemos con ellos en los escombros,
la creación de un mundo más justo y cariñoso.

Ofrecemos esta oración y nuestra solidaridad
en el nombre de Jesucristo.