Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

A long overdue blog entry. Yes I still blog!

A big part of summer to me is canning. This is my fourth year canning and every year I can feel my confidence growing. I am a testament to anyone who says they can't can (I'm such a nerd) as I am self taught/I read a bunch of books until I just tried it one day. I've had some horrible results (my best buddy will remember the year when I did raspberry jam so thick that you had to melt it down into a saucepan to use...) and I've had some great successes. Getting to know different methods such as the long boil (no pectin needed) and traditional pectin has been very interesting to me. Today I used liquid pectin for the first time with wonderful results. I decided to make this recipe off of Tasty Kitchen:
I was at a local farmers market this past weekend and couldn't pass up a basket of wonderful local strawberries as well as a bundle of fresh rhubarb (seriously where else but a farm market can you find rhubarb anymore..)

This year our strawberry season locally was hit hard by the spell of cold weather then sudden shock of all the heat we've been having. Nature has a funny way of ensuring that some seasons you will be paying extra for local strawberries. Honestly though I have canned and made jam out of imported fruits and it just isn't the same. If you can buy local. Canning isn't always economical, you will find however that after a few years you will be reusing glass jars which always delights me because I am a frugal lady. Over all though canning, like most hobbies costs money. You are making a product for those you love (or perhaps even to resell) so buy the best you can find. I really liked this recipe and really liked using liquid pectin.

So much so that I would consider using the liquid stuff in place of boxed pectin. I have 10 lbs of local blueberries nestled in the freezer which will be providing me with oodles of jams and pancake sauces, perhaps if I stop being lazy I will blog about that endeavor.

This was my result after doubling the recipe. Please note that you can't double a recipe in the pot all at once, the jam wont gel properly. It's best to do one batch at a time to ensure that you get a good gel.

So there's my first day on a staycation. Somewhat productive if I do say so myself!
Happy Summer!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Pickled Peppers

Happy June! I'm going to be posting some canning recipes over the next week or so chronicling my ventures with pickling. Today I used a very basic recipe canning peppers. I used red, green, orange and yellow locally grown peppers. I really wanted to achieve a great spicy condiment to adorn hotdogs and burgers this summer. I think I achieved the look I wanted, however I'll have to wait a few weeks before I know if I got the taste, these babies have to pickle still!

Here's the recipe:

3 of each red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers sliced into strips
about 5 jalapeno peppers chopped coarsely
1 clove of garlic for each jar (I used 10 cloves)
6 c vinegar
2 c water

This yielded me 8 2c canning jars

Heat up hot water bath canner, bring to a boil. Sterilize jars. Bring water and vinegar to a boil. Pack peppers and jalapenos tightly into jars and top each jar with a garlic clove. Ladle in vinegar. Process in hot water bath canner for 15 minutes. That's it, very easy.

Lotsa love,

Monday, May 24, 2010


Challah is one of my favorite breads. It's fairly foolproof and versatile. I've used the soft dough to make buns, loaves and different shaped breads. It's chewy and buttery and just perfection. Challah is a special braided bread that is associated with Jewish tradition. It is typically consumed on the Sabbath and other special holidays. The recipe is particularly different from many bread recipes because it contains both eggs and milk. I attribute both of these ingredients to the fantastic taste.

Here is the recipe I use for Challah using my KA mixer:
This recipe yields one very large loaf or can be split into two smaller loaves. I doubled the recipe this time.
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 3tbl white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Warm milk to about body temp, just warm to the touch. Add sugar and yeast and leave for a few minutes to let the yeast get started.

When the yeast is foamy add butter and eggs.

With the dough hook on begin adding a cup of flour at a time until all is incorporated (throw the salt in the mix also). Kneed on a medium setting for 8 minutes.

Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until about doubled in size.

Punch down, shape and let rise again about 30 minutes.

I doubled the recipe and made three different loaves from it:

Bake at 350* for 25 minutes until golden brown.

At this time your house will smell wonderful.

I also wanted to include what I like to do with my eggshells. I keep my eggshells in a container under the sink...

When the container gets full I throw the shells in my food processor and pulse until they are fine.

The eggshells are wonderful to sprinkle in garden soil and inside potted plants.

Happy Victoria Day to all Canadians and have a wonderful week <3


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Literally folks, from the seeds!

I love this time of year. I am in love with this time of year.

It's been warm here lately which has helped many of my seedlings to get their start for the season. Sharing the photos brightens my day for sure, as well as sharing a recipe that always makes me warm inside. I know, I'm such a sucker for nostalgia.

Hello onion bulbs! Welcome to spring!

Beautiful carrot sprouts!

My bestest gave me a wonderful tea seed/leaf growing set and I finally felt it was warm enough to seed them. If you look in the left hand corner, that fuzzy green thing is a sprout!

Atlast my Rhododendron is budding! I've never seen it bloom before and for some reason I thought the flowers would be pink! This color looks magnificent. There are tons of Rhododendrons around here that have already bloomed and I was beginning to think mine never would!

Right, now for an awesome carbohydrate filled recipe. This is my mum's recipe for scalloped potatoes. I've had lots of variations of this recipe but hers is my favorite. It's comfort food, filling and delicious.

  • Potatoes (I used around 6 small-medium ones)
  • Can of cream of mushroom soup (cream of celery would work well too)
  • Milk
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Grated cheese
In a bowl mix can of soup with about 1/2 c milk. If you are doing lotsa taters then add more milk to make the soup base go farther. To that add a good dash of pepper. I do just about a tsp. Add 1 tsp paprika. Whisk that baby up. Cut the potatoes into thin slices. Place one layer of potatoes in the baking dish and cover with sauce mixture, repeat this until everything is in the dish. Sprinkle with a bit more paprika (maybe half a tsp) and sprinkle a handful of grated cheese on top. Cover and bake about an hour and a half at 350* (until you can poke a fork in and it feels soft). In the last 20 minutes of baking remove the lid and sprinkle some more cheese and get it nice and brown.

Look at that lump of paprika! Mmmm I want that piece.

Lotsa love,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good bites my dear!

Strawberry Smoothie:

Strawberry Smoothie:
handful of strawberries (frozen)
1 individual container vanilla yogurt
splash of fruit juice

Do you ever have days where you set out to do one thing and somehow a million other things pile up as well? I should be studying for my final today, but it's on Friday and I thankfully have Thursday off so I will be cramming them. Today however is a day for my kitchen. I set out to make chicken meatballs today, realized we needed bread and decided while I was at it why not dirty more dishes and make a delicious smoothie treat.

The delicious sweetness of smoothies make me long for summer to come. Something inside of me says this summer will be truly wonderful, oh I hope so.

Chicken Meatballs:

Can you guess which egg is organic and which is just free range? ;)

2lb ground chicken
1 tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp garlic seasoning
1 c bread crumbs
2 eggs
handful of Parmesan cheese
Combine all, form balls, bake at 400* for 15 minutes

Result: Delicious, I like freezing them in little batches for spaghetti and pasta dishes.

Light wheat bread:

So yummy, I just ate a slice slathered with PB. I generally don't like making bread recipes with so many ingredients because it raises the costs, but this was well worth it. I also used my Kitchen Aid for most of the kneading.


So there's my update...
And as my grandma would say,
Good bites my dear! Good bites!


Thursday, April 22, 2010


My goodness, Spring!

I love all seasons equally, each for different reasons. Spring to me is a bit of the teacher's pet though.. perhaps because it's birthday season for most of my closest friends, and for myself aswell. Spring is also the wonderful time to start seeding. I finally got the opportunity yesterday to seed some peas, edamame, onion bulbs as well as some bush beans. Here's hoping for a good crop this year!

I love how evident spring has become in my yard:

From my strawberry plants that have come back nicely,

To new plant markers that will be dotting my garden,

And Mums, my goodness, my Mums survived the winter!

Spring has also blanketed itself on my lawn:

Courtesy of the blooming apple tree:

Spring has arrived in the form of Tulips (that none of us planted). We have come to the conclusion that perhaps squirrels brought the bulbs to the yard.

Spring is evident in my eager pup, who will be enjoying her first spring on this earth with our little family.

I can feel my toes warming up at last, what a wonderful feeling!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

This needs few words:


My new favorite everything. Avocado.



scrambled egg and parmesan


(salsa + the yummy avocado)

Here's the icing:


Okay I'll stop procrastinating now.