Blueberry Cupcakes w/ Maple Brown Butter Frosting

Blueberry Cupcakes with Maple Browned Butter Icing

I haven’t baked much lately. With the Summer being so dang hot, I just didn’t want to use the oven much at all. Now that the weather is starting to lend us small glimpses into the Fall, I decided that it was time to start baking again.

Would you believe me if I told you that I literally have 1/4 cup of flour left in my house and maybe a cup of sugar after this recipe was done? I’m usually very well stocked on the baking staples, but like I said, I haven’t been baking. I guess it’s time to hit the store sometime soon…oops!

About a week or so ago, I read about a Bake -N- Blog challenge that Jesstagirl and her Officer was organizing. I thought this would serve as a great way to get back into baking. Cupcakes are quick and easy. I got to choose out of ALL of these cupcakes. When it came to choosing, I avoided chocolate, caramel, peanut butter…all the things that I love, but my husband does not. I chose #19: Blueberry Cupcakes with Maple Brown Butter Frosting, because I know my husband likes blueberries and if worse comes to worse, I can skip the icing on a couple in case he isn’t such a fan of it. :)

This cupcake was very simple to put together and pretty darn tasty! The icing reminds me a lot of a butterscotch candy, which was fine on its own, but together, I found that the cupcake/icing combination just wasn’t quite right. I think for next time, I would make a blueberry buttercream or plain buttercream with these cupcakes.

Blueberry Cupcakes w/ Maple Brown Butter Frosting
Source: Ming Makes Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the 1/2 cup of (cooled) melted butter with the egg and add the buttermilk and milk. Mix well.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until blended. Fold in blueberries.
  4. Scoop into a cupcake pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool.
  5. For the icing: Put the 1 stick of butter in a small pot and cook on low/medium low until it it a golden brown color. Be careful not to burn the butter.
  6. Place the butter in a bowl and add the confectioners sugar. Mix well.
  7. Add the milk and maple syrup and mix until smooth.

Berry Mash Bruschetta

Berry Mash Bruschetta

You know when people say, ”OMG this is the best thing since sliced bread!”? Whenever someone says that, I always think about how sliced bread is actually pretty boring. Don’t get me wrong here, because I love a good sandwich, but sliced bread in a bag isn’t something (bread-wise) that I consider to be the “best thing”. In fact, the thought of sliced bread brings me back to school lunch days when I would push through trying to eat a soggy turkey sandwich, and growing envious of those who got to bring the fancy awesome Lunchables. (Mom, if you are reading this, I love you and realize how stupidly expensive Lunchables are now.)

A while back, Foodbuzz sent me some samples of Nature’s Pride bread. I wasn’t expecting to be really wow-ed by the bread, but I will say that this bread is sort of our staple now. I especially love the honey wheat and the wheat hamburger buns. They don’t have that gross, dry texture that other wheat breads in store have, and for that, we are a Nature’s Pride convert. :)

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, Foodbuzz offered a coupon for a free Nature’s Pride product in exchange for making up a little ol’ recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread.  Six bloggers’ recipes will be chosen to be an ambassador for Nature’s Pride at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival! ::crosses fingers::

I think I would go happy-crazy if I were chosen. I’ve never been to California before, and I’d love to meet/greet other food bloggers! :D

Anyway, back to the post. I figured since I buy the bread every week, I’ll just make a recipe before the coupon comes in. :)

I definitely wanted to make sliced bread not-so-boring, so I kept the idea in my mind to make a recipe with sliced sandwich bread! I sort of just thought up this recipe in my head: cinnamon toast, cream cheese spread, fresh mashed berries and a nutella drizzle on top. What’s not to like?

This recipe is insanely delicious and sinful. The crunchy toasty bread and the juicy berries with chocolate and cream cheese made a perfect little dessert bite (or two). It’s also ridiculously easy. You could totally make this for a party, and impress the guests.

Berry Mash Bruschetta
Source: an original

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices Nature’s Pride Honey Wheat sliced bread
  • Unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup nutella
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the bread into fourths and place on the baking sheet.
  3. While waiting for the oven to preheat, mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the nutella and milk in another bowl to make the nutella drizzle. Set aside.
  5. Mix the cream cheese with 1 1/2 tbsp. of the cinnamon sugar mixture in another bowl. Set aside.
  6. Rinse berries and then place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork.
  7. Place the sliced bread pieces in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until a golden, toasty brown. Turn off the oven. Immediately add a thin layer of butter and then liberally sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Place back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes to ensure that the butter/cinnamon sugar set in.
  8. Take the bread out and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  9. Now, assemble your bruschettas. :) Add a thin layer of the cinnamon cream cheese to the bread slice, add about 1 tbsp. of the berry mash on top (making sure not to avoid adding too much berry juice), and drizzle nutella on top! Enjoy!

Makes 24.

Note: You may have some berries leftover, but there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

If Heaven made me breakfast…

French Toast

I know what you’re thinking…what’s with the title? Well, writing challah french toast with subtle notes of orange drenched in orange berry sauce is a little bit lengthy for a blog title, don’t you think?

So, I decided if Heaven could cook me breakfast in the morning, I imagine this is what they would serve. Delicious, fruity french toast. There’s something about french toast. It’s just so simple, yet yummy and you can flavor it any way you want. Versatile little breakfast you are, my french toast.

One of my fellow Weddingbee pals (Yes, I know I got married over a year ago. Once a bee, always a bee darnit!), who writes the blog I love you much, came up with this recipe. This recipe is the reason I made challah and it was worth it. Make the challah/buy the challah…whatever it takes. This bread redefines french toast, folks. Seriously…you don’t even have to make THIS french toast. Just make any french toast with this bread from now on. You will NOT regret it!

Challah French Toast with Orange Berry Sauce
Source: adapted from I love you much

Ingredients for toast:

  • 1 loaf challah
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • pinch of salt

(optional: some powdered sugar for dusting)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients for the berry sauce in a small pot on medium low heat and allow to cook down, stirring/slightly mashing berries every few minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Whisk all ingredients (except for the challah) in a large bowl until well incorporated.
  4. Slice challah into 1/2 inch slices.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet at medium heat.
  6. Soak 3-4 pieces of challah in the egg mixture for 30 seconds on each side (until the bread is fully soaked but not soggy). Shake off excess mixture and place on the skillet (cook 2-3 minutes on each side until barely brown).
  7. When finished on the skillet, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet in an oven to keep warm/finish the toast.
  8. Repeat 6 & 7 until all toast is done. Keep in the oven an extra 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with berry sauce and powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

Scones are the typical coffee shop pastry item. They are crumbly, fruity and just so delicious. However, at about $2/each, I really wanted to see if I could make coffee shop quality scones on my own. I’ve tried making scones before, but they always ended up cakey and not quite the texture I desired in a scone. This time, though, I think I found my recipe.

I will admit, the directions, especially for rolling the dough, sound completely ridiculous, but I almost always follow a  baking recipe exactly the first time I make it, so that I can give a proper critique of it. It’s a pet peeve of mine to go to a recipe site and see that a recipe has 3 stars because people made 4-5 substitutions that didn’t work. It’s fairly stupid, in my opinion, since those substitutions were the reviewer’s doing and had nothing to do with the original recipe.

Anyway, this recipe is really good. The only thing I will change next time is subbing dried blueberries for fresh. I didn’t really like having fresh blueberries in it, because as much as I love blueberries, the random bursts of juice from the berries just were not expected or desired much in this recipe.

Blueberry Scones
Source: Cooks Illustrated (Annie’s Eats‘ adaptation)

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
  • 1½ cups (7½ oz.) fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
  • ½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F.  Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater.  (I like to use my food processor for this – fast and easy.)  Place the blueberries in the freezer until needed.
  2. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed.  Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined.  Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface.  Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball.  Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Roll the dough into a 12-inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (a dough scraper really helps with these steps).  Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square.  Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again.  Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface.  Using a dough scraper, roll the dough up to form a tight log.  Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle.  Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles.  Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar.  (If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed.)  Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Cake

I was very surprised to see that most of you were curious about the strawberry cake recipe. It’s probably the easiest thing to make out of the menu, but also a refreshing crowd pleaser!

I got this idea from a local bakery. In fact, I wanted to buy this cake since my party menu was ambitious enough. I had a Groupon type of gift card to redeem there for anything in the bakery case, and when I got there, sure enough, there were already made strawberry cakes in the case. However, my dreams of having one less thing to worry about came to a halt when the employee, who probably can’t legally drive a car yet, told me that the refrigerator case isn’t ::technically:: their bakery case, so I’d have to buy the cake for $31. I was totally aggravated that there were buttercream cakes in what she considered the “bakery case”, but the whipped topping strawberry cake that was in a different case, because it needed to be at a colder temperature, was not the “bakery case”. Seriously folks, what the heck?!

So, this cake is NOT entirely from scratch folks. This recipe involves boxed cake mix. I would have driven myself batty making a cake from scratch with everything else I was working on. Not one guest seemed to mind, and trust me, you won’t either. The whipped topping makes this cake!

Strawberry Cake
inspired by a local bakery that has a ridiculous definition for a “bakery case”

Ingredients:

  • Duncan Hines french vanilla cake mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups Water
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Bake cake in two 8″ or 9″ pans according to instructions. Allow layers to completely cool.
  2. Take 10 of the strawberries and puree them in a blender or food processor. Hull and slice the rest of the strawberries into fairly thin slices.
  3. Put heavy whipping cream in a mixer and just mix until it starts to thicken and barely form peaks. Add in confectioners sugar and mix until the whipped cream makes stiff peaks. Be careful not to overmix.
  4. Fold in 3 tbsp. of the strawberry puree and vanilla extract and allow to set in the fridge for a few minutes, while you carve the cake layers to be flat.
  5. Take the whipped cream out and carefully fold in sliced strawberries.
  6. Ice cake with the whipped cream/strawberry mixture. Allow to set in the fridge and serve immediately.

Note: This cake does really well  if you individually freeze leftover slices and allow to defrost at room temperature until ready to eat. That is, IF you have leftovers!

Foodbuzz 24×24: The Best Things We Ever Ate

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Summer officially started last Monday. However, being in Louisiana, we’ve been feeling summer-like weather since May. With the heat index hitting 110 degrees sometimes, we wanted to throw a summer party that was most definitely indoors!

I watch entirely too much Food Network. If it wasn’t for Food Network and reading food blogs, I’m fairly certain my husband and I would be living off of Hamburger Helper and take-out. One of my favorite shows lately has been The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Every show has a theme, and it features the cooks/hosts on Food Network and their favorite eats in that theme. So, when Foodbuzz emailed about this month’s 24×24 proposals, I figured it would be a fun party to feature the best things our families have eaten! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party! :)

To come up with the menu, I sent out an email to our families asking for their favorites in each category.

  • On the Grill (recipes that are done on the BBQ)
  • Dangerously Cheesy (major cheese in a dish)
  • No Utensils (finger foods/apps)
  • Keep it Comfy (comfort food)
  • Frozen Treats (any dessert from the freezer)
  • Mix it Up (a food that requires using a mixer—doesn’t have to be a sweet)
  • Louisiana’s Best (Louisiana food)
  • Cold and Colorful (like a salad or cold app with lots of veggies or fruit)
  • Under the Sea (favorite seafood dish)
  • Classic American (with 4th of July approaching, tell me a dish that screams American)

After getting many responses, here is the menu we came up with:

Drinks:
Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Daiquiris

Appetizers:
Cheese Fondue with Vegetables/Bread*
Bruschetta*
Boudin Balls

Entrees:
Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Onion Cheese Sauce and Compound Butter*
Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers*

Sides:
Crawfish Fettuccine
Macaroni and Cheese
Vegetable Skewers*
Grilled Corn
Lettuce Greens with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Desserts:
Strawberry Cake*
Assorted Cupcakes
Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie
Fresh Berries with Ice Cream

* recipes will be featured in the blog in future posts

I will admit, I’m still getting the hang of entertaining for a large number of people. Despite doing a lot of prep, I felt fairly stressed in the last hour. Since the party was for family, though, I had loads of help at the last minute. :) Whew!

The fondue was an absolute hit. I was nervous to make this myself, but this recipe came together beautifully! I served the fondue with day old po’boy bread, carrots and broccoli.

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We purchased the boudin balls at a local joint, since they are pretty much my husband’s favorite. The bruschetta was a lighter alternative to the other appetizers. I was super excited to use basil from our garden for this dish!

Appetizers

I need to thank the hubs for braving the sweltering disgusting heat to cook up this magic on the grill. The steak, especially was a real winner to family!

kabobs

We made 3 sauces available for people to dip/cover their skewers in: a chimichurri, onion blue cheese (not pictured) and a worchestershire chive butter. The chimichurri ended up being a huge hit (and I used parsley from the garden for it)!

Steak Butter/Chimichurri

Here is some lovely grilled corn that survived a few flare-ups on the grill. :)

Grilled Corn

Here is a semi-decent picture of the crawfish fettuccine before everyone digged in. The hubs’ parents made this dish and it was delicious. Perfect flavor with a little Louisiana kick!

Crawfish Fettucine

This is some macaroni and cheese that is my mother-in-law’s favorite. It was definitely pretty tasty (not to mention, cheesy). :)

Mac and Cheese

After enjoying some serious eats, we waited a good while before putting out desserts and just chatted, watched TV and played some games.

I will say the desserts were absolutely amazing.

Fresh berries (and ice cream, not pictured)

berries

Strawberry Cake (inspired by a local bakery). I would have just purchased one, but I had no idea an 8″ cake was over $30. What the heck?! I guess I’m just used to baking my own cakes to realize how expensive cakes have gotten!

Strawberry Cake

This was a welcomed surprise. A local cupcake bakery occasionally has giveaways on Twitter, and I won some cupcakes! They were seriously delish! Thank you Sweet Wishes Cafe!

Cupcakes

Here is the cinnamon crumb apple pie. This is one of those frozen pies you can find in the grocery store, but has quickly become a favorite with my hubs’ family.

apple pie

Of course, our puppy was very excited to get all of the attention she got at the party, and thanks to my mom, she tried a piece of steak for the first time. I think she enjoyed it. :)

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a party without family! Here are some pictures of our family.

Mom and Sis

family

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It was a great time to be had by everyone, especially in the milder indoors. Thank you so much to Foodbuzz again for the party! Everyone had a blast! :)

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet

I love summer. The fruit is just so gorgeous, delicious and heck, dirt cheap. Last weekend, I raided the produce stand for fruits. I had some leftover after snacking on a good bit, and thought about a sorbet. I had mango, pineapple and kiwi left, but I was pretty sure the color of that would be unattractive.

So, I asked my friends on Twitter what they thought. Mango/Pineapple or Kiwi/Pineapple? Mango/Pineapple won BIG time. However, upon coming home, I cut into the mango and it wasn’t ripe at all. :( So, I ended up making Kiwi/Pineapple instead. I’m not sad about it, because I think this sorbet is really cute with the little kiwi seeds in it.

This is the first sorbet that I’ve had that is creamy in texture, and really soft to scoop straight out of the freezer. It’s also a delicious flavor combination, so don’t let the neon green highlighter appearance deter you away.

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet
Source: adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 small pineapple, cored and cut in chunks
  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of one lemon

Directions:

  1. Place pineapple, kiwi and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.
  2. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and let the machine run for 25-30 minutes. Freeze for 1-2 hours to set the sorbet.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana Choc. Chip Bread

When I was a cashier in high school, we had to learn PLU (product look up) codes to ring up produce. The first code I knew was bananas (it is 4011 in case you are wondering…type that code in at a self check-out and see what happens). Why? Because almost every shopping cart has bananas. They are delicious, cheap and very nutritious.

Every week, I buy my husband and I a bunch of bananas. Most of the time, we finish them, but sometimes, I forget about them. Of course when I forget about them, they become this unappetizing brown color from overriping, but fear not, when they are that overripe, they are PERFECT for baking!

This past week, we had 3 bananas that got too ripe for snacking on, and I decided to made some banana bread. I’ve made it before, but decided to give Baking Illustrated’s version a shot, since they never steer me wrong. This was the winner. If you want to try a banana bread recipe from this blog, make this one first! It’s so unbelievably moist, flavorful and light (since I subbed the butter out for applesauce). Plus, this is another recipe that you don’t need the KA for. A simple wooden spoon and 2 bowls will suffice. Your breakfast will never be the same either.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips together in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix the bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Do NOT overmix! Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Louisiana Strawberry Jam

Louisiana Strawberry Jam

When I was 5 years old, I remember sharing some strawberry ice cream with my grandmother. Much to my surprise, I broke out in a horrible case of hives. I developed an allergy to my favorite fruit! For years, I’d block out this delicious fruit from my vision. I feared strawberries, but was secretly jealous of my siblings who were able to happily enjoy them. In Louisiana, the strawberries are grown locally, so they are just amazingly flavorful and sweet.

By the time I was in high school, I grew tired of it.  I remember holding a bowl of strawberries, lightly sweetened with sugar, in front of me. I told my Mom to have the first aid spray handy, because I wanted to see if my strawberry allergy was only a childhood allergy. I wolfed down the bowl, waited…waited…and the next day, I was still OK. Thank goodness!! I could eat strawberries again! I think I went through half a flat that day, just to make up for the years of lost opportunities with this tasty berry.

Every time April rolls around, I have to have a flat of them. This year, I decided to make some homemade jam. I wasn’t as intimidated this time, because I have canned before. This was easy to put together, and from the foamy jelly I skimmed off after cooking the jam up, I will say this stuff is REALLY tasty. Smuckers can’t touch this! :)

For canning, I use this kit. I find all of the tools in there almost essential for easy and safe canning.

Before you begin canning,  I recommend this website, since this explains in detail how to can safely. The recipe below is considered “high acid canning”.  I also purchased this book, which also has all of the directions for canning and bonus, has quite a few more recipes than their website provides.

Louisiana Strawberry Jam
Source: Ball Blue Book of Preserving

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 7 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Wash strawberries and drain. Remove the stems and crush strawberries a few at a time (I place them on a cookie sheet and used a fork to mash).
  2. Combine strawberries, lemon juice and powdered pectin in a pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add in the sugar and stir until the mixture is dissolved. Bring this to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam, if there is any (I used a slotted spoon to do this).
  3. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps, and process for 10 (for half pints)-15 (for pints) minutes in a boiling water canner.

Makes 4 pint or 8 half pint jars.

Autumn Spiced Ham

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday with their family and closest of friends.

I can’t wait to share with all of you my kitchen adventures for hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner. Things so far are on schedule, surprisingly, so I’m sure tomorrow won’t be too stressful in the kitchen. It will be great to see family for the first time since the wedding in May. :)

The recipe above, by the way, is a great idea for leftover ham. I love how easy this recipe is and how it just screams Fall season. Check out the recipe here.