Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Fall Day Trip and Blackberry Jam

A couple days ago we just had to get out of the house and take a short day trip. Where to go we wondered. Wilma had a great idea to take a trip to Great Lakes Crossing. It’s famous for being Michigan’s largest outlet center.

Some of our Neighborhood trees The sunshine was bright, skies clear, and fall colors are probably at their peak. Made for a pleasant 27 mile drive.

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Upon arriving we were surprised that there weren’t more cars in the lot than what there was.

Fall color trees

And you just can’t go there without a walk through the famous store of them all.

Made a stop here

But beware of some of the workers at Outdoor World. Especially the Greeters! Disappointed smile

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I believe we went up and down just about every row of items for sale. We were like kids in a candy shop, taking it all in. Even the wild life looked a little vicious! Don’t get too close now, those ducks will get ya. Winking smile

Ducks free to roam inside.

Leaving Outdoor World, we headed for a walk through the mall area. We thought we would start at one end of the mall and work our way through to the other end.

Great Lakes Crossings Mega Mall

They have the mall area’s divided into “Districts”. Photo above is our entrance to the mall.

We walked and walked, making it to District 9. Worked up a terrible hunger and found a great place to stop. Toby Keith's bar and grill. 

Inside Toby Keith's Bar/Restaurant

We were not going to have any drinks, water with lemon is our drink of choice. But we had heard they have large portions, especially the Nacho’s. So Wilma thought she would try one. She chose the “Small” portion.

Enough for 4 adults!

Wouldn’t want to order the “Large” portion, don’t think the tables would hold them!  Yes, there were two large “take home” containers that were needed.

It was a great outing for us that we both enjoyed tremendously.

Last summer while visiting Wilma’s brother Eddie and his wife Beth, he gave us 3, gallon size Ziploc bags full of Blackberry’s he had picked. They were frozen, so in the cooler they went for the trip home. Once home the still frozen berries were placed in our freezer.

It was full of Blackberry's before freezing. Now after the thaw, half full of juice.

Today I made some Blackberry Jam. Each bag held 4 cups of crushed Blackberry’s, the exact amount the recipe called for. The first batch was made without Sugar. Splenda was used in it’s place. I ended up with 5 half pints of Sugar Free Jam. Wilma had a taste and gave her approval. Looked like my very first crack at canning Jam was successful.

The second bag of Blackberry’s were opened, and this time I used the sugar recipe. I just couldn’t make myself put 7 cups of sugar in with the 4 cups of berries, so I reduced it down to 4 cups of sugar. As the second batch was cooking, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Used the store bought Strawberry jam. When I tasted my Blackberry Jam I was pleasantly surprised how much better it tasted. I’m happy now that I did cut down on the amount of sugar. I will be changing that recipe to 4 cups of sugar.

The outcome in the photo below, looks like we will have enough Jam to outlast a season or two.

Sugar added on the left, Sugar Free on the right.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

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