Monday, June 26, 2017

Strawberry Jam

It is strawberry season in Maine! I had to close out the Jam month of the Food in Jars Mastery challenge by including some strawberry love!

Quick and simple and from one of my favorite cook books, Put 'Em up!, this jam was put up in a pinch!
Because when I have a million things to do on a Friday before the college reunion we host arrives at our house, I decide to add making jam to the list!

The recipe was really quick which made my hasty decision so much more rewarding.

1 cup sugar
1 TSP Pomona's Universal Pectin
4 cups strawberries, hulled and slices
1 teaspoon calcium water (in the Pomona Box)
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

*** boil your jars asap as this recipe goes quickly!***
1. Combine the sugar and pectin in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Place the berries in a medium non-reactive pot and crush with a potato masher.
3. Bring strawberries to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
4. Stir in the calcium water and lemon juice.
5. Slowly pour in the sugar and pectin mixture, stirring to dissolve.
6. Return to a boil and stir to be sure it is heated through.
7. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles.
8. Skim off the foam.
9. Pour into hot jars, affix the lids, and process in the hot water canner for 10 minutes!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dawn's French Onion Soup

Dawn, previously known as Egg Basket, gave me this recipe 6 YEARS ago. Apparently I stashed it away in a never to be seen again place. At least two computers later, I stumbled upon it today when trying to clean out a folder of PHOTOS! Geesh, I can be so disorganized sometimes. Without further ado, I present Dawn's French Onion Soup.

Dawn’s French Onion Soup

2 lbs sweet yellow onions
1/4 cup butter
8 cups beef stock
2 TBSP granulated bouillon
1 cup red wine (I use Sassy Bitch Merlot .. I'm a rebel like that)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf of crusty bread (I love a good garlic ciabatta)
sliced provolone, swiss and mozzarella (I like a mix, you can use whichever cheese your family prefers)

Makes 8 servings

1. Peel onions and slice in six equal pieces (larger or smaller depending on your preference)
2. On low heat in a large. heavy bottom soup pot, saute onions in butter until translucent (about 15-20 min)
3. Add beef stock and wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
4. Add Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste (my family likes the tangy flavor that the Worcestershire sauce adds and I will often add more to our tastes)
5. Continue to simmer on low while preparing the crouton
6. Slice bread in 3/4 inch slices and lightly brush or spray with olive oil and toast under the broiler until lightly toasted (keep broiler on)
7. Ladle soup into oven safe crocks
8. Place a crouton on top of each bowl and lay sliced cheese over crouton
9. Place soup under broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly, then remove (carefully LOL) and enjoy

Asparagus, Egg, and Bacon Salad with Dijon Viniagrette


We made this for dinner last night and it was SO good. It is a keeper and will be repeated many times. For the two of us I used two bunches of asparagus,  about 6 slices of bacon, and 5 hard boiled eggs so of course there are left overs! This will be a perfect hot summer night meal and everything can be prepped ahead of time and left to chill in the fridge. The only thing I did differently than the recipe was to enlarge the portion size and devil the eggs. Next time, I will only devil the eggs with a little bit of the dressing to keep it super healthy.

The recipe was found on and advertised as a Paleo friendly meal. For the original recipe, click HERE.

For my version, here's my portions of ingredients:
2 bunches of asparagus, chopped
6 slices of crispy bacon (I make mine in the microwave)
5 hard boiled eggs (devil a bit with some of the dressing)

Dressing = Dijon Viniagrette
8 tablespoons olive oil
8 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Apple Zucchini Muffins

This is another recipe from Crunchy Creamy Sweet that I can not wait to try! Apple Zucchini Muffins that will help me put away all the zukes popping out of the garden!

Apple zucchini muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded zucchini (see note)
1 cup shredded apple (one medium apple, I used gala)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with a non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt).

Add shredded zucchini and apple. Stir to coat with the dry ingredients.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg.

Add to the dry ingredients and stir in with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Do not overmix. Lumpy batter is okay.

Using a regular ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin pan, filling one scoop per muffin.

Bake muffins in 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 375 degrees F and continue baking for 12 minutes. Check the muffins with a toothpick or a dry spaghetti noodle to see if done baking. If the muffins are too pale on top, add two more minutes of baking. They should have golden brown edges and golden tops.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove onto a cooling rack, plate or cutting board.

notes: It is very important to squeeze as much moisture from the shredded zucchini and apple as possible. To do so, place shredded zucchini and apple on a stack of two paper towels and squeeze in your hands over the sink. You can use a colander with small holes but the paper towel method works the best.

Muffuletta Grilled Cheese

We made these a long time ago and I am just recovering the recipe off my computer. I had done a search for Giardinieria since we had made it from our garden. Of course I found a new blog, Lemons for Lulu, to follow.
From the briny taste of olives to the warm comforting cheese,  grilled cheese will never be the same again!

    4 slices sourdough bread
    6 slices provolone cheese
    2 teaspoons butter
    2 tablespoons green olives, chopped
    2 tablespoons black olives, chopped
    2 tablespoons red bell pepper, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons giardiniera, chopped

1. In a small bowl combine green olives, black olives, red bell peppers, garlic and giardinara. Set aside.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat.
3. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
4. Lay two slices of bread, buttered side down in the skillet.
5. Place one and half slices of provolone cheese on each piece of bread.
6. Divide half of olive salad and place over cheese.
7. Place remaining slices of cheese over olive salad, top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up. 8. Toast sandwich for 3 - 4 minutes per side or until golden.

Chive Vinegar

I was excited to find a vendor selling bunches of chive blossoms last weekend. It made a delightful arrangement for the kitchen counter, bringing edible spring inside. My own chives haven't blossomed yet, in fact look so weak and pathetic I wonder if I should move them to a different flower bed. I hope that they will bloom this year after allowing that specific flower bed to get totally weeded over last year.

I recently stumbled upon a Pinterest pin for chive vinegar that I promptly added to my sustainability board. The recipe from Vegetarian Ventures was simple, straight forward, and offered an exciting trial for a new vinegar for me. I didn't waste much time (well I waited a day and made sure the garden had been second planted) before making Chive Vinegar because of their post.

 The recipe is simple and all you need is chive blossoms, vinegar (either white or champagne) and a mason jar with a lid. Cut the blossoms off, pack them into a jar,  cover with vinegar, put a lid on it, give it a shake, and put it on a windowsill giving it a good shake once a day.

I loved how the cut stems looked all stacked together. My favorite part was the realization that all those stems could go into our freezer bag for making stock.

See how clear the vinegar starts out?

Well after one day (and two shakes):

Isn't that beautiful? I am getting rather excited about it. Each day I come home it is a richer color and I want to find tiny bottles that I can distill the vinegar into for gifts!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Caprese Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Cafe Delites

This Cafe Delites recipe is hands down my favorite new chicken recipe. I've been trying to create a more Keto-esque diet for myself after packing on the winter weight this year. So far is has been working, I am down 6 pounds and can feel it today. The dress tank I am wearing is once again comfortable and not tight around the back of my armpit. I can feel the progress. This chicken I made for one of my first nights on the diet, when Puckstopper was first home from college and requested my pasta sauce over spaghetti with garlic bread. I knew I needed an easy out. This was perfect and the left over stretched into lunch for the rest of the week. I was happy to make it again last night. Oddly enough I didn't take any pictures of it either time. It's not odd I guess - who wants to touch their phone when in the midst of handling chicken breasts? Not me!

The recipe is from Cafe Delites and can be found Here. The change I make to the recipe is to pound the breasts out after butterflying them, as it makes them much more pliable when you are trying to close and seal them. I added a slice of provolone for extra cheese melt and then tripled the sauce as it just makes the chicken even yummier. Here's my slightly modified recipe:

For the chicken:
5 chicken breasts, gently butterflied and then pounded for tenderness.
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil
2 Tomatoes
Jar of sun dried tomato strips (reserve the oil when draining)
Log of fresh mozzarella, sliced
Sliced Provolone
at least 10 Fresh Basil leaves
and for the sauce:
4 cloves garlic
1 cup balsamic vinegar
6 Tablespoons brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Prepare the chicken breasts by slicing nearly all the way through but not all the way. 
  3. Pound the breasts flat for tenderness. 
  4. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. 
  5. Pour 1 teaspoon of sun dried tomato oil over each breast and massage in.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other side. 
  7. Fill each with 2 slices fresh tomato, 2 teaspoons sun dried tomato strips, sliced cheeses and basil leaves.
  8. Seal with 3-4 toothpicks diagonally to keep the filling inside while cooking.
  9. Heat remaining sun dried tomato oil (or olive oil) in a skillet or non stick pan over medium-high heat. 
  10. Add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden.
  11. While the chicken is cooking, mix together the garlic, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small jug. 
  12. Pour the mixture into the pan around the chicken; bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally, until the glaze has slightly thickened (about 2-3 minutes).
  13. Transfer pan to the preheated oven and cook for a further 10 minutes. 
  14. Take pan out, flip breasts and bastes. 
  15. Return to oven and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese has melted.
  16. Remove toothpicks and drizzle with pan juices.

Please go to for the enticing video of the amazing recipe, making it look far better than my iPhone ever would.