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Mother’s Day Weekend and Strawberry Jam

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It’s Mother’s Day weekend! I am very fortunate to be good friends with my sweet mama. We have a great time together in the kitchen and she is undoubtedly the main reason I am a chef and cookbook author. She has always loved to cook and taught me from an early age.

Recently we made Easy Strawberry Jam — I am calling it “Virginia x 2 Strawberry Jam.” (Here name is Virginia, too!) This strawberry jam uses store-bought pectin and is super easy to put together. You can do it!

This issue also includes:

  • a best life living tip on how you can save money at the grocery store
  • a keep it cool self care technique that’s great for summer and helps fight off bored snacking.
  • inspiration from a 7th generation native Georgian that breaks the small town stereotype and then some

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Best Life Living Tip

Grocery prices are up — this is not news. How to save money? Advice to use a delivery service might surprise you. According to Everyday Cheapskate, using a grocery delivery service can save you money.

Because of membership, delivery fees, and tipping, you might think having groceries delivered is far more expensive, but not always! Do know that some stores have higher online prices than in the store. However, if you believe “time is money,” online grocery shopping can be a better bargain, plus:

  • Using a service prevents spur-of-the-moment impulse buys.
  • Creating a grocery list at home allows you to inventory the pantry and fridge while you are on the app.

I’ve used Instacart for many years. It’s worth it to me as a recipe developer and food writer. While I am very picky about some things, I don’t need to handpick my dishwasher pods.

I have it hooked up to my cashback credit card and make money on it at the same time. (Here’s my code if you want to check it out: VWILLIS32E162)

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Self Care Technique

Keep a small spritz bottle in the fridge. When you go to cruise the refrigerator mindlessly, give yourself a spritz instead! It’s great for your skin and keeps the grazing at bay.  Spritzes, especially when kept refrigerated, are perfect for cooling and soothing skin post-sun exposure or workout.

Real Simple says, “If you have dry skin, a good face mist can be an additional moisturizing agent throughout the day but if you have oily skin, there are benefits too: face mist can moisturize your skin without adding heaviness. And, those with combination skin can find a happy medium, using the face mist when needed and a stronger, thicker moisturizer at night.”

You can use plain water or seek out ones that help moisturize. Look for soothing ingredients like aloe, chamomile, rosewater, and lavender; antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, tea, and pomegranate; cooling ingredients like mint or cucumber; or hydrating oils such as olive and seed oils.

Ideas and Inspiration

Janisse Ray is an award-winning author, writing naturalist, and environmental activist. I’ve been a fan grrl since I read Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia states that Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, “combines elements of ecology and autobiography into a multifaceted work. As activist and memoirist, Ray alternates chapters between her childhood in rural southern Georgia and the ecological history of that region—an effective switch that shows the delicate symbiotic nature of the landscape and the people who are irrevocably connected with the land.”

It is a stunning book.

We’ve never met in person, but have developed a “phone friendship” where we cheer each other up and on in regards to business. It’s women supporting women and I love it!

Janisse is also a writing coach and regularly offers seminars and classes. Make sure to check out her writing courses and subscribe to her substack newsletter, Trackless Wild. 

How to Make Strawberry Jam

I am an avid jam and jelly maker and love making pickles and preserves. Check out my jam and jelly videos on Food Network that you can watch for free! And, here’s my beginner’s guide to canning on

I don’t often use pectin, but with strawberries, it can make for a lighter and fresher-tasting jam. Plus, no thermometers or worrying about the jell point. The recipe below is right off the box!

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be hard for some people. I have several friends who have lost their mom and others who have terrible relationships with their mother. Some women never wanted to have children or could not have children and this day can trigger them, too. Take care of yourself this weekend.

I am richly blessed to have a mama who loves me unconditionally—best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe Mother’s Day.

Thanks so much for reading!

Bon Appétit Y’all!

Virginia Willis

PS And, here are a few recipes for picked vegetables and more.

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Strawberry Jam

Servings: 8 cups


  • 5 cups smashed strawberries buy about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries
  • 1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter or margarine
  • 7 cups sugar measured into separate bowl


  • Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
  • Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.
  • Stir pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  • Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)


Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained chef Virginia Willis has foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and executed the food styling for a Super Bowl commercial seen by over 160 million people. Virginia is a Beard award-winning cookbook author, chef, content creator, and motivational speaker. She has lost 65# and kept it off for more than 3 years. Because of her own health journey, she is a cheerleader for others seeking to make lifestyle changes to feel healthier and happier. Her experience inspired her to launch “Good and Good for You” a lifestyle brand rooted in culinary that shares health and wellness content through digital channels; public speaking; and print media. Fans love her approachable spirit and friendly down-to-earth style. For more information visit

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