ABOUT THE COOK
Patt with her dog Rainn and her cat Lucee
I have always liked to cook—but I LOVE to bake. I baked for friends, for parties, for holidays and, especially, for my parents when they were still with me. My Father, particularly, loved desserts. I would cook him dinner several times a week and always included one of his favorite desserts, like Strawberry shortcake (with REAL shortcake) and Lemon pie. I have baked just about every type of dessert over the years.
A few years ago I moved into a new home with a yard big enough to grow herbs and some vegetables. Soon I outgrew that and took one of the community garden spaces. My particular garden had a huge Fig tree on it. I, literally, had figs dropping on my head most of the summer. And so it was the Figs that started my passion for canning. I canned fig everything and soon added other seasonal fruits and veggies from my garden.
And then there was the Zucchini. Anyone who has ever gardened knows that if you plant squash it takes over your life. There is only so much Zucchini you can eat with dinner, so I used my baking skills to start baking all things Zucchini—bread, cakes, muffins etc. At some point—like the invention of Peanut Butter Cup—figs and zucchini married and became fig/zucchini cake, bread etc.!
I had so many jams and butters that I decided to try my hand at selling them at a local boutique, along with my fresh baked sweet breads, pies and cookies. It went really well—and thus was born Bellejars!
I am a huge animal lover—with a dog and cat of my own. Rainn, my dog, is now old and “dentally challenged”, so I started making her special soft dog biscuits. The biscuits were also a big hit with all my friend’s dogs, so I have added dog treats to Bellejars list of products.
I am retired and have some physical challenges but baking and canning are activities I can still accommodate and enjoy. Bellejars is the perfect way for me to keep busy, keep my mind sharp and create something I can be proud of and others can enjoy.
THE BELLEJARS’ PHILOSOPHY
Simply Strawberry Jam
JAMS, JELLIES, BUTTERS AND SAUCES
Bellejars is all about fresh. I use all fresh fruit and vegetables in my products, and once you have had fresh jam, you will never be happy with store bought, again!
I have my own garden full of veggies and herbs. I also have access to prolific apple and fig trees and fresh lemons, oranges and limes. If I come up short for a batch of my own produce, I buy organic from local farmers whenever possible. Orange County has a Certified Organic Farmer’s Market nearby every day of the week!
Using only fresh produce makes for an amazing product, but there is also a down side. We are lucky in Southern California to have the longest growing season in the Country, but there will still be times when certain fruits and vegetables are not available. For this reason, many of my jams and jellies are seasonal. I try to make enough to last until the next season but am not always successful.
All my jams, jellies, fruit butters and sauces are made in small batches. This gives me the opportunity to taste as I go, “tweak” the flavors, and have more control over the sweetness and consistency. Wherever possible, I do not use pectin. Pectin is a natural thickening agent made from the skins of fruits and vegetables. Although it is “natural”, the processing sometimes makes it something I prefer not to use. Not using pectin, however, means the jam has to be processed longer and you get fewer jars out of each batch. That is why the pectin free products may be a bit more expensive. If I do use pectin, I use a natural, GMO and chemical free product from Pomona Farms and it is noted in the ingredients. All canned items are processed according to industry standards in a hot water canner. Seals are checked after canning, before storing, and again before I deliver them to you. You can be completely assured that my products are safe.
Double Crumb Peach Pie
All bakery items are made fresh and prepared with the highest quality ingredients. Demand is especially high during the holidays—especially for pies—and I take orders on a first ordered, first served basis. Please order holiday pies as soon as possible. I have an eclectic “baking repertoire”—pies, crumbles/cobblers, Bundt and upside-down cakes (I do not make fancy layer cakes), bread puddings, trifles etc. It would be impossible to list them all, so if you do not see what you want, please just email me and I will let you know if I can make it.
Oatmeal, Bacon and Peanut Butter Bones
DOG BISCUITS AND TREATS
My philosophy about dog treats—which I am pretty sure is shared by the vast majority of dogs—is that dogs eat with their noses and not their eyes. Instead of spending my energy on fancy designs, I concentrate on making my biscuits healthy, delicious and irresistible. Of course I can—and do—also make cut-out bones and biscuits for customers to give as gifts.
All my doggie treats are made with fresh, natural human grade ingredients. There is nothing in any dog treat I make that you couldn’t also eat. I make basic biscuits—mostly with cheeses, bacon and other meats and broths. I guarantee your dog won’t be able to resist them! Most of my dog treats can be made crunchy or soft and sized from mini to large.
Because the biscuits are made with fresh ingredients they are perishable and MUST BE KEPT REFRIGERATED!