Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (Pectin-Free)

StrawberryRhubarbJam

This past weekend I made my very first batch of Pectin-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.  Who knew making jam could be so easy?  I researched a few recipes online and what I was most shocked to see was the amount of sugar all of these recipes called for.  I knew the recipe would need some sugar but I felt 6 cups of sugar is WAY too much.  Fruit is sweet enough in my opinion and although rhubarb is a bit tart I did not see a reason for that much sweetener.  So needless to say, I created my own jam recipe and cut back on the sugar.  I think this jam has the perfect amount of sweetness.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have made my first batch of jam.  I want to scream it from the Rocky Mountain tops!  Hah!  Let me explain.  Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of moving to the country and making jam.  I remember how this dream was born as if it were yesterday.  I was about 10 years old, sitting on the couch in my childhood home watching a new comedy that had just been released on VHS.  Yup, I said VHS.  For those young readers, these were the clunky rectangular tapes (or Video Home Systems) that we used to watch movies on before there were DVD’s. I feel so old.

Anyway, the movie was Baby Boom staring Diane Keaton (circa 1987).  Those of you who are unfamiliar with this film it is about a busy executive woman who inherits a toddler from a cousin who had passed away.   This woman eventually gives in to all the new challenges that come along with a child, leaves her busy life in the city and moves to Vermont.  She begins making her own gourmet baby food and, once again, becomes a successful woman selling her “Country Baby” food.  She falls in love with her new life, who she has become and her adopted daughter.  It’s a sweet story.

I remember thinking as I sat in our living room,  “One day, I am going to move to the country and make my own jam.”  Babies and baby food certainly were not on my mind at that age.  Who knew I would actually be doing it!  I too, love what I do, where I live and adore my boy more than words could express.  I find it funny I haven’t thought about this childhood dream until the moment I tasted this delicious jam.  All of a sudden my heart became warm and filled with this loving and comfortable feeling.  A feeling that things are all good.  Like a hug.  It was that same feeling I had when I first had this dream.  Life is pretty cool like that.

This recipe yields 4 4-ounce jars.

The Ingredients:

2 1/2 c rhubarb, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 1/2 c strawberries, quartered
1/2 c organic sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Place the rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.  The sugar will draw the moisture out of the vegetable and you will have a bit of liquid in the pot.  Next add the strawberries and lemon.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium-high for 20-25 minutes.  Stir often to avoid burning.  The mixture will soften and thicken.

StrawberryRhubarbJamMax

Pour jam into 4 sterile 4-ounce mason jars and place the lids on.  Once the jam is cool place in the refrigerator it will last up to 2-3 months.  Note: I did not properly seal these jars because the jam will be used within 3 months.

*If you prefer to make a large quantity you can follow these canning technique from Ball.  When properly preserved the jam will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool dry place.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Peanut Butter

PeanutButter

Where have you been?  Some of you have been inquiring of my whereabouts.  Well the truth is, my little guy has made the transition from two naps to one and as a result it really messed with my schedule.  At first, I was really excited for this new change but had put little thought into how it would affect my day-to-day.  It certainly threw me for a loop.  I was missing meals and some days would spend his nap eating way too much because I hadn’t had a chance to take a bite of anything.  Well, thankfully I have finally adjusted to his new schedule and am happy to report, I am back!

I have also been busy in the kitchen coming up with new recipes and am really excited to share some of my creations with you.  In the meantime, I am sharing with you this simple Homemade Peanut Butter.  I make this about every two weeks.  Between the three of us, we blow through our Homemade Peanut Butter pretty quickly.

PeanutButter1

The Ingredients:

1 lb unsalted, roasted peanuts (that’s it!)

Place peanuts in a high-speed blender.  I typically run the blender on low so the nuts evenly become a fine powder.  Then I turn the blender up until the peanut butter is creamy.

Store it in a mason jar for up to a month.  I store mine in the refrigerator but a cool, dry place works too.

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

CauliflowerStirFryPeanutSauce

This Cauliflower Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce is so tasty you will not even miss the chicken.  The recipe is an oldie but goodie.  Back when I was eating meat I would make this dish all the time.  I have recently been fascinated with the hidden potential of cauliflower and have been incorporating it into many of my dishes.  It is a great substitute for chicken!  So with some testing and a lot of tasting, I have finally mastered this new recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family.

The Ingredients:

1 package of thin rice noodles
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, julienne
2 celery stalks. julienne
2 tbsp sesame oil

The Sauce:

1/2 tsp Thai Kitchen curry paste
1/2 c vegetable broth
1 c coconut milk
1/2 c homemade peanut butter
1 tbsp “soy” sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook rice noodles according to package.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces.  Place the cauliflower along with 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil in an oven safe dish and lightly roast.  You want the cauliflower to still be a firm and almost fork tender.

Lightly steam carrots and celery in water.

Whisk together in a medium bowl all the ingredients of the sauce and set aside.

Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, sauté  garlic in sesame oil until lightly browned.  Add the roasted cauliflower and stir-fry until fork tender.  Next add the steamed veggies then the sauce mixture.  Reduce heat and stir until sauce thickens.  If the sauce is too thick add more coconut milk.  Lastly add the cooked noodles.  Mix well and serve.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

CauliflowerPizzaCrust

Yum! This Vegan Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust is absolutely amazing.  Best of all you do not have to wait for any yeast to rise.  I have some old bread and pizza crust recipes I have used in the past that are perfectly delicious.  However as a busy mom I do not always have the time to let the dough rise for 40+ minute or worry if the live active yeast I purchased is really alive.  I need something that I know is going to work and not so time-consuming.  Although there are several steps to making this delicious Cauliflower Crust I feel it is certainly quicker than making my traditional fresh crust.

The Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower florets
3 tbsp ground chia
6 tbsp water
1 1/2 c almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Over medium-high heat place the cauliflower into a medium saucepan with about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes or until the steam is seeping out from under the lid.  Drain the liquid and then transfer the cooked cauliflower rice in a freezer-safe bowl. Place in the freezer to cool for 10 minutes.  Once it is cooled through place the cauliflower into a food processor with the fitted “S” blade.  Pulse until you get a rice-like texture.

CauliflowerPizzaCrust3

Meanwhile, mix the chia seeds and water together to create an “egg”.  Set aside to thicken.

Transfer the cauliflower to the center of cheesecloth or a thin dishtowel. Pull all sides of the cheesecloth up and twist the ball of cauliflower to remove the excess liquid.

CauliflowerPizzaCrust2

Next in a large bowl place the egg mixture, the almond flour, the additional tablespoon a ground flax or chia seeds, salt, garlic and oregano.  Mix well and then add the cauliflower.  If the mixture is still too wet add more almond flour little by little until you can handle the dough with minimal sticking.   Place the dough mixture on a greased baking sheet and press into the pizza shape you desire.  You do not want to press the crust too thin or it will crack.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 30 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

CauliflowerPizzaCrust1

Once the crust is done add your favorite pizza toppings.  I used marinara sauce, fresh mushrooms and Daiya mozzarella cheese.  Place the pizza back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is warmed through.

Enjoy!

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