Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spiced Blueberry Jam

Would you like a pint?

You may not know this, but last summer I purchased 60 pounds of wild Maine blueberries (blue gold and I refer to it)!  I froze most of them!  I have been breaking into my stash to make pies and desserts.

Well, last week I had a burst of energy (thank you school vacation) and decided to make Spiced Blueberry Jam!  This is a fairly simple jam to make and it is absolutely delicious!

Besides putting it on muffins, toast or English muffins, it also goes well on ice cream, breakfast/dessert waffels, lightly softened and spread over cream cheese as an appetizer served with crackers, or as a glaze on pork & chicken!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

12 ounce size
Spiced Blueberry Jam Recipe

6 cups blueberries
7 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
dash ground cloves
1 6-ounce package (2 foil pouches) liquid fruit pectin

1. Crush blueberries with a potato masher. (You should have 4 1/2 cups crushed berries.)  In an 8 or 10 quart kettle or pot combine crushed blueberries, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.  Stir in sugar.

2. Heat over high heat to a full rolling oil, stirring constantly.  Stir in pectin.  Return to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; skim off foam with a metal spoon.

3. Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace (I use pint or 12 oz jars).  Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.  Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars from canner, cool on wire racks.

P.S.  Today I traded a pint of my jam for a jar of my coworkers honey . . . it's amazing!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Braised Mexican Beef with Crispy Corn Tortillas

So, I bought a new cook book "The Spark People Cookbook ~ Love your Food, Loose the Weight" and so far the recipes are delicious and satisfying! There's also a website you can checkout when you have a moment.

As part of our 2012 motto "eat fresh, eat local, eat better, eat less and live longer," I've begun cooking from 5 new cookbooks. This recipe looks like a lot of work, but it isn't. It really only took me 10 minutes to prepare, and I'd make it again in a snap! Without any further adieu, here's my delicious recipe! Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings - 1 heaping cup per serving

10 minutes to prepare - 1 hr., 15 minutes to cook

12 oz beef chuck roast (stew meat) excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 large carrots, peeled and diced (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 tbsp no-salt added tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar or leftover red wine
1 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme or 3 fresh sprigs
6 corn tortillas, baked until crispy
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 banana pepper, diced
2 tbsp low-fat Greek yogurt

1. preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Place an oven proof, heavy-bottomed, lidded saucepan over moderate heat. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel, then add to the saucepan to sear on all sides. Remove the meat from the saucepan and set aside.

3. While the pan is still hot, add the onions, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and continue to saute for 3 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and vinegar, then slowly add the stock, stirring with a wooden spoon to remove the browned bits at the bottom of the saucepan.

4. Add the chili powder and thyme, then return the meat tot he pan. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the preheated oven. Braise for 1 hour.

5. Place 2 of the baked tortillas in a sandwich bag and crush - using a rolling pin or a heavy bottomed pan - until they are crumbs.

6. Remove saucepan from the oven (remember the handles get hot!). Stir in the chickpeas and crushed tortillas. Replace the cover and return to the oven for 15 minutes more.

7. Place 1 heaping cup of stew onto a tortilla, top with the chopped cilantro, peppers, and one tablespoon of Greek yogurt. Serve warm!

Per Serving
338.4 calories, 7.2 g total fat, 55.3 mg cholesterol, 221.9 mg sodium, 45.9 g total carbs. 10.7 g dietary fiber, 25.2 g protein

P.S.  No endorsements from this cookbook were received - I just like it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Raspberry Rhubarb French Toast ~ Yum!

This morning I made raspberry rhubarb french toast, it was absolutely delicious!  I don't normally make breakfast like this on Monday's, but it's a holiday and I'm on winter vacation! It all began yesterday when my husband and I went to the in-door Farmer's Market in So. Portland, Maine.  We stopped by a new vendor that we hadn't seen before to check out his baked goods - our first mistake, LOL!!!  I spotted the bread and exclaimed that I'd never thought to make rhubarb bread (I have some in the freezer)!  It was the baker who told us that it was "to die for" as French toast!

I simply soaked the bread in egg & milk

put the bread in my hot cast iron skillet & poured the left over egg in the pan

Then poured our pure Maine Maple Syrup that we picked up at the Farmer's Market over our French toast with a little dollop of butter!

Now the possibilities are endless, banana bread French toast, blueberry bread  French  toast, cranberry bread  French  toast . . . you get where I'm going with this . . . 

Served with a cup of tea, it was like having dessert for breakfast!  Yum! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Beauty

Sometimes nature can just take my breath away!  

How about you?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI

Go Patriots!!! 
It's Super Bowl Sunday!!! 

The parties will be in full swing this afternoon!  We'll be going to my brother's home to watch the game - he has a 55" flat screen!  Let's cheer for the Patriots!  Below, you'll find some facts, some fun photos and a few heart warming photos!  Enjoy!!!

Super Bowl XLVI is an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2011 season.
Wide Receivers
It will be the 42nd annual championship game of the modern-era NFL and is scheduled to be played Sunday, February 5, 2012, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kickoff time is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m. EST. 
Some fun on the Boston Common with the famous Ducklings!
The ultimate tailgate sandwich tray!
This will be the first Super Bowl to be played in Indianapolis, and the first time in the history of the game it will be played in consecutive years in a retractable roof stadium. This will also be only the fourth time that the Super Bowl is played in a cold-weather city, after Detroit's hosting of XVI and XL as well as Minneapolis's hosting of XXVI. Downtown Indianapolis, the home of Lucas Oil Stadium, will feature an outdoor Super Bowl Village and other programs at the Indiana Convention Center.
When you see this . . . 

And when you see "MHK"

Per convention as an even-numbered Super Bowl, the Patriots as the AFC representatives will have the home team designation. Super Bowl XLVI will be the sixth Super Bowl in which the two teams had competed in a previous Super Bowl match up, as the Giants and Patriots had previously met in Super Bowl XLII.  Both head coaches (Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick) and both starting quarterbacks (Eli Manning and Tom Brady) return from Super Bowl XLII.

They are playing for their biggest cheer leader,
and wife of the team owner, 
the late Mrs. Myra H. Kraft - she loved those players!

~Go Patriots ~ 
Let's win this one for Myra!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Resonate . . .

I came across these two quotes today and they just resonated with me.  The 1st one was posted on FB by a co-worker and the 2nd one I came across on pinterest.  Enjoy!

This will be hanging up in my classroom next week!  I believe it's important for middle school students to realize that there's more to life than being instantly gratified!  Maybe it will even resonate with some of the adults in the building!  There's a good lesson in this quote.

I just love this.

What's your favorite quote?