Recipes

Apricot Pineapple Jam

 

 

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This recipe is a newbie for me as I have never really worked with apricots much before.

At first I was planning to make a basic apricot jam, but then in my research discovered that some people combine it with pineapple.

I am so glad that I did, for this was a winner! In fact, it turned out so well that I plan to make another batch later today.

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The recipe was taken directly from Sure Jell’s website, seen here. The only variation I had from this was that I used the basic yellow box of Sure Jell, not the MCP box (which I’ve honestly never even seen before).

Here is a breakdown of how to make this:

3 C prepared apricots

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 C lemon juice

1 box pectin

1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)

8 C sugar

Prepare jelly jars. Wash, pit, and then finely chop apricots (with peels on) until you have 3 cups of it. Place in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, then add drained pineapple, lemon juice, and pectin. Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring often. Add sugar and stir in, then bring to a boil once more, allowing it to boil about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if desired.
Ladle into jelly jars, then place lids with bands on tightly. Process in a hot water bath about 10 minutes. Remove from water and let jars sit about 24 hours before removing bands.

Recipes

Wild Violet Jelly

This is a little gem from my archives, posted over two years ago!

For some reason this is probably one of my favorites. I’m not sure why, it just is.

I was reminded of it a couple weeks ago when my kids were reminiscing about how I made them pick all of those little purple flowers out of our yard. Then they asked if we could make it again sometime.

Why not? We have a gazillion of these in our yard and pretty much any other grassy area right now. (I’m actually doing a similar experiment with dandelions at the moment. Can’t wait to see the results, I’ll let you know if it turns out.)

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Is this not a beautiful sight?

Seriously, this may be the prettiest jelly I’ve ever made.

What gives it that gorgeous color? Wild violets, straight out of my backyard.

As my little guys have now named it, “flower jelly.”

I stumbled across the recipe for it on another blog and had to at least try it once.

Luckily I had lots of helpers to pick the violets for me.

This is Andrew, my 3rd grader. He was by far the most diligent of my little pickers and also helped to separate all the blooms and stems. The kids were all pretty into helping though. So, if you have any crazy little projects like this, I would be glad to hire them out! Just kidding. Sorta. (They’re also great corn huskers and pea/lima bean shellers.)

Anyway, after they had bunches of violets picked, this is the recipe I used to make the jelly:

2-3 Cups Violets

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 1/2 C Boiling Water

3 1/2 C Sugar

1 Package Sure Jell

Pick flowers and separate the blooms from the stems. In a jar, place the blooms and pour the 2 1/2 C boiling water over them. This will help to make an infuson. Allow to infuse until the water color is a dark blue/purple. (I even pushed the blooms around to help with this.)

Once you are satisfied with the color (it doesn’t take very long), strain and add the lemon juice to the liquid. I wish I had taken a picture of this step, for this is when it changes into such a brilliant color! Pour all liquid into a heavy pan and turn on high heat. Add the package of Sure Jell. Bring to a rolling boil and add in the sugar. Bring to a boil again, allow to boil for @1 minute, them remove from heat. Pour into jelly jars and process for 5 minutes. Allow to set for 24 hours. Enjoy!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the taste. If you are not too weirded out by eating “flower jelly,” it really does taste fine. I have to admit that I was a little nervous–was it going to actually taste good? Or gross? (Almost all of my jelly-making experience has been with berry-based ones.) Well, we tried some with our Easter breakfast and the closest thing I can compare it to is a light grape-y flavor. Nothing strong, just a light, pleasant flavor.

Wouldn’t this make a pretty little gift as well?

Hmmm….I may have to send my little workers out with their baskets to pick me another batch.

Recipes

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Finger-licking good and healthy to boot.

That’s exactly the type of snack these little bars are.

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They are honey-sweetened and feature peanut butter, dark chocolate, and coconut.

Oh yeah, and oatmeal too.

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See? Healthy and good. And maybe a little bit addictive.

Perfect for a little snack to accompany your coffee or a sweet treat to put in a lunchbox.

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In addition to being healthy, this is a no-bake snack, so it’s easy to make a full pan of these without even turning on your oven.

I don’t make these THAT often, but when I do they’re usually gone by the second day.

Trust me, it’s good stuff.

Here’s the recipe if you’re interested in whipping some up for your family:

1 C peanut butter
1/2 C honey
1/2 C coconut oil
2 C rolled oats
1 C flaked coconut
1/2 C nuts or dried fruit
1 1/2 C dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the first three ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add in the rest and stir until chocolate is melted. Press into a 9″x13″ pan and chill for a few hours. Cut into bars.

Craft/DIY Ideas, Parenting Tales

A Sweet Snow Day Activity

Early this morning at around 5 am, I got “the call.” No, it wasn’t Publisher’s Clearinghouse telling me I won a million dollars, or anything life-changing.

Two hours later I got “the second call.” Again, not life-changing, but definitely news that changed my whole plans for the day.

Yep–school was called on a two hour delay, then the powers that be declared it a Snow Day.

My kids were ecstatic. Immediately they had grand plans for our day. It’ll be Pajama Day! We can watch movies! We can go sledding and build snowmen! Play games! And the list goes on and on…..

Since I know many others of you are in the same boat right now, here’s a cool activity we did over the Thanksgiving holiday, but I thought would be even more appropriate on a Snow Day. You know, when the kids tire of all their grand plans and you’re looking for something to keep them busy.

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Got some mini-marshmallows hanging around? Got some toothpicks? Well, then that’s all you need to do this activity.

I told my kids we were going to have a challenge–Who can build the coolest creative structure using ONLY marshmallows and toothpicks?

Each was given a paper plate and approximately the same number of mini-marshmallows (I threw a couple of large ones in as well) and toothpicks.

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They immediately set to work.

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My oldest boy isn’t quite as into building as the other boys, but he was game.

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Notice that my girl roped Daddy into helping her almost right away.

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Busted! Someone thought they’d have a little sample while they’re at it.

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The results were varying and there really were no winners. However, my crew really enjoyed doing this and have asked when we’ll do it again. If and when I do this again, maybe I would assign a certain type of structure to make. For you homeschooling moms, maybe you could learn about snowflakes and have the kids make a geometric snowflake? The teacher in me thinks that would be a great lesson and hands-on activity.

I served hot chocolate when they were wrapping things up–a perfect treat to go with!

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Here’s a cute little way to make hot chocolate, from my blog archives.

Also, if you ever want to make your own marshmallows, here’s a link from one of my very first posts as a blogger.

Happy Snow Days to all!

Recipes

Crock Pot Root Beer Chicken

I’m still aspiring to use my crock pot more often than I usually do.

Thankfully I added another crock pot recipe to my repertoire that was a hit with the fam.

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Oh yeah–a little sweet, and a pop of spice.

Perfect to serve with noodles or over some rice.

(No, I didn’t intentionally make that rhyme!)

I think my kids truly did like it, as they ate a bunch the night I made this. However, I think the name drew them in too.

Oh, and the fact that they got to drink what was left of the root beer with their meal. Their mother doesn’t buy soda too often, so that was a nice little treat for them.

I found the recipe via thefrugalgirls.com, then changed some of the amounts a little:

Crock Pot Root Beer Chicken

 4 – 5 Boneless Skinless Chicken, thawed

18 oz. Barbeque Sauce

12 oz Root Beer

1/8 Tsp. Salt

1/8 Tsp. Pepper

Cook chicken in crockpot on high for 3 hours {covered}.
After 3 hours, drain juices from crockpot.
Mix together BBQ Sauce, Root Beer, Salt and Pepper.
Pour mixture over chicken, and cook on high for 30 more minutes {covered}.

Recipes

Peach Butter

So, before my kids went back to school, I tried making this for the first time:

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A yummy batch of peach butter.

I was a little hesitant to try it, but we got a box of peaches that were seconds and really needed to be used up. Since I had enough canned peach halves from last year, I decided to give this a go.

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I’m glad I did, because it turned out good. Like just spooning-it-out-of the-jar good. Oh yeah, I had some on toast this morning, and it did not disappoint one bit!

Also, as a bonus, your house will smell heavenly when making this.

I researched some different peach butter recipes and ended up doing a little combination of 2 that I found.

If you’ve never made peach butter before either, don’t be intimidated. Yes, it took a little time, but was definitely not hard to do.

Here’s the basic recipe I followed (amounts are approximate):

18 medium-sized peaches

1/4 cup water

1 C honey

2 C sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Scald peaches and peel the skin off. Then halve them, pull out the pit, and slice up into a large pot. When all peaches are prepared, add 1/4 C water and simmer until they are very soft. Allow to cool a little while, then add batches to a blender and puree just until they are smooth (try not to puree for too long). Put your peach puree into a pot and add the spices and sweeteners and simmer, stirring pretty frequently. Cook down until it is thick enough to round up on a spoon. Ladle into hot, sterilized jelly jars or pint jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Place two-piece caps on and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

For me this recipe made 9 jelly jars.

The beauty of this is that you can modify some of the amounts to your liking. For example, you really wouldn’t have to use as much sweeteners as I did (or you can add more). To be honest with you, I started out just using honey, and then decided I wanted it more sweet than it was, hence the sugar. Same goes for the spices. Hey, whatever floats your boat!  One of the recipes I saw used honey, sugar, and vanilla scraped out of a vanilla bean. I thought that sounded awesome, but did not have a vanilla bean just lying around, so went with the cinnamon and such instead.

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Peach Butter–definitely on my to-make list for next summer!

Parenting Tales, Recipes

Salad on a Stick

My daughter is becoming quite the little homemaker this summer. One of her favorite things to do is read cookbooks, especially ones geared towards kids. She came upon this recipe and insisted we try it out. With the onslaught of many ripe tomatoes and loads of fresh basil, we gave it a try the other day when two of my nieces were here.

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The concept is extremely simple, and you only use a few different ingredients.

What I did was gather my ingredients and place them in various bowls, then had some toothpicks available in a pile.

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All you need is tomatoes (cherry ones would be better), cheese cubes (I used mozzarella), basil leaves, and a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.

It’s sorta like a Caprese salad, but on a stick.

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The kids were pretty into making these. They were totally grubbing on them!

Just as an FYI–my kids can make a bag of potato chips disappear in record time, so I loved this as a healthy snack option.

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I am a huge Caprese salad fan, so I loved them too.

This could be adapted in different ways to suit different tastes. Maybe it could even be a healthy lunchbox option.

(Actually, I’m not sure if kids can still take toothpicks to school, they might be perceived as a weapon of sorts, LOL.)

So anyway, that’s our little kid and/or grown-up snack idea for you.

Hope you have a glorious late summer day!