Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strawberry Jam

I preserved a bunch of strawberries that we picked up at the market last week, creating the most delicious jam I have ever eaten. I used this same recipe last year, it is a real winner. I was taught how to can by D's mom, but please take every necessary precaution when canning, as you must ensure everything is sterile and your jars get a tight seal in order to prevent spoilage and botulism.

Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Jam

** makes about seven 250 mL jars

8 cups sliced strawberries
6 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

First off, get your canner about half full of water and set it on the stove to boil:

Next, begin sterilizing your jars by placing them along with the rings on a cookie sheet in a 200 F oven. Make sure they are in the oven for at least 20 minutes before using them.

Now take your lids and immerse them in water in a pot. Set over medium heat and allow them to slowly come to a boil. After they come to a boil, cover them and set them aside, still immersed in the water.

Next place your strawberries into a deep pot and bring them to a simmer. Let them simmer for 10 minutes.

When the 10 minutes have elapsed, add the lemon juice and the sugar and stir well until sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil rapidly for 20 minutes, or until thickened slightly.

Thick and syrupy

Take the jam off of the heat and stir for 2 minutes. Skim foam off the top if you want. I never do this, and my jam still tastes and looks great.

Now take one jar at a time out of the oven (use oven mitts- they're hot!) and ladle the hot jam into them, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean with a wet cloth. Take a lid out of the pot and place on top of the jar. Next place a ring over top and tighten slightly (fingertip tight). Make sure to not screw them on too tightly. Place them one by one in the canner on the rack.

Once you have filled all of your jars, sink them down into the water and make sure they are immersed in the water by at least one inch. Put the lid back on the canner and bring back to a rolling boil. When a boil has been reached, process the jars for 10 minutes. 

After the processing time has elapsed, pull out each of the jars and place them on a tea towel. Cover them up and let them sit for 24 hours. The next day, check them all for a seal and put them on your shelf to be enjoyed all winter. If any have not sealed, refrigerate immediately and use within a couple weeks. 

I had 6 jars that I processed and a seventh that I just put straight into the fridge. Well, after I did a bit of a sample:

Oh, the joys of being the cook!



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brain Food

Today I am writing a paper and doing some reading for my class, so I started my day off with some brain food.

Oatmeal cooked with raisins and topped with Holy Crap cranberry cereal, molasses, maple syrup, and soy milk. We got a bag of the Holy Crap cereal for Christmas, and I finally got around to opening it today. It consists of buckwheat, flax, chia, apple, cinnamon, and cranberries and is meant to be sprinkled on cereal and eaten raw. It is full of good fats and protein and provided a nice crunch to my oatmeal. Now I am off to continue writing! I will be making jam today or later on in the week, so I will be sharing that soon enough. Hope you have a great day.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Simple and Gourmet Mid Week Meal

Tonight, D cooked, and it was an amazing meal to come home to after a long work day. He worked today as well, but was off much earlier than me (the benefit of starting at the crack of dawn). This was his creation:

Cream sauce pasta with sauteed mushrooms, asparagus, and onion topped with crispy pea shoots cooked in garlic and olive oil. On the side is roasted beets and sauteed beet greens with garlic and olive oil. It was to die for. The beets, asparagus, garlic, and pea shoots are all from the market and the mushrooms are local and organic. I have always eyed up beets, but never purchased them before. I am an official beet lover now! Roasting them made them sweet and buttery, and the greens were amazing! A great way to use the entire vegetable.

This entire post should be credited towards him, as he even took the time to take pictures for me while cooking, knowing I would want to post it on here. All of the pictures are his, except the top one. I am so thankful to have this great man in my life! Plus, the guy is a great cook. What more could I ask for?

I am sorry for my absence, school has begun with a bang once again and most of my time lately has been dedicated to reading the texts and working, along with night class. Hope all is well in your world.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Amazing Documentary

We just finished watching the film Collapse, and I am inspired and terrified at the same time. This is an important documentary about the peak oil crisis and how our world is in a deadly spiral towards collapsing. It is incredibly informative and really makes you think about the future. You can watch the entire film here, but I have also included the trailer for it below. If you have any concerns about our current oil guzzling lifestyle and how it needs to change, you need to watch this movie.

We are all in this together, so let's find a solution before it is too late.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Yogurt Pancakes

I love pancakes. Particularly blueberry buttermilk pancakes. But we don't always have milk or buttermilk in the fridge, so I found a recipe for pancakes that uses yogurt (a constant staple for us) instead. These pancakes are light and moist and have a lovely tang from the yogurt. I have adapted the original recipe, found here. So here is my version:

Yogurt Blueberry Pancakes

Serves 2

1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chia seeds
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup frozen blueberries

Whisk together dry ingredients and make a well in the middle of them. Add wet ingredients, and whisk together. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until bubbly. Butter a hot skillet and dollop some batter onto it. Dot with blueberries and cook until golden brown. Keep warm in an oven set to 150-200 degrees F until all pancakes are cooked.

The chia seeds are purely optional, but they provide a great crunch to the batter, and add omega fatty acids. The whole wheat flour gives them great texture, fibre, and makes you feel full longer. We had them with home canned pears from last summer. The blueberries were frozen from last summer as well.  The batter will be very thick and bubbly, but don't add more yogurt unless the flour isn't completely absorbed. The thickness makes the pancakes moist and fluffy. Enjoy!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

On My Mind...

Joining in with Rhonda today for an On My Mind Post.

Today we both had the day off, so that is on my mind. We went to lunch at this amazing Mexican restaurant downtown and then took a stroll and browsed through my favourite used book store. I bought three books, but one is for my new course that starts on Monday. The other two were for pure pleasure. If there is one thing I love to buy, it's books. I try not to buy too many per year, but that never quite works out. Plus who can turn down a five dollar book that has as much charm as this one?

In my all time favourite novel, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, there are several classic novels mentioned, a lot of them obscure and unheard of. Today, I stumbled upon one of those. The Woman in White. I am so excited to start this one! Here are my other finds:

What a wonderful way to spend our day off together! 


Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, I finished my course today with an exam, and it went really well (I hope)! Now I have a week before my next one starts, so I am so excited to be catching up on my non school related reading. Here is what I have been enjoying:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is amazing so far. I am about halfway through, and it is starting to get very exciting. If you happen to see this at your local used book store or library, I encourage you to pick it up. What are you reading right now? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Fresh and Simple Dinner

To use up some of my delicious farmer's market produce, I made quiche last night. And it was delightful!

Simple Summer Quiche

Preheat oven to 375 F


1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1/4 -1/3 cup cold water

In a food processor, pulse together flour and salt. Cut up butter into chunks and then pulse into flour mixture until it is the size of peas. Slowly stream in water until dough is formed. Cover and chill in the fridge while you get the filling ready.

I always make my crust in the food processor because I find it turns out much nicer. But if you are a pro at hand mixing pastry and don't want the extra dishes, feel free to mix it up by hand.


I used what I had on hand, but replace anything with what you have.

5 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
5 stalks asparagus sliced into 1 cm pieces
handful spinach, chopped roughly
5 mushrooms, sliced
5 green onions, sliced
small handful cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
about 1 cup shredded cheddar
salt and pepper, to taste

Lightly whisk eggs and milk together. Stir in vegetables, herbs, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Now roll out your crust and place it into a lightly greased pie plate. Crimp edges and pour filling in. Bake at 375 F for about 40-60 minutes. My pie plate is fairly deep, so mine took about 55 minutes. It is ready when the eggs are springy and no longer wobbly. You might get a bit of liquid in the center when it first comes out of the oven, but as long as it is clear and isn't runny egg, just let it sit for a few minutes and the eggs will reabsorb it. It is just the liquid from the vegetables. Serve warm with a green salad.



Saturday, June 11, 2011


Today marks the very first day that D and I are attempting to keep something alive, besides ourselves and the cats :). Today, we planted tomatoes! We have four very healthy certified organic kootenay tomato plants,picked up this morning at the farmer's market , which should hopefully be providing us with an amazing bounty later on this summer. We also have four no so healthy, scraggly plants that were given to us by a family friend last week. I don't have much faith in the little guys surviving, but I planted them anyways, just to see.

The last photo is three of the runts. I planted them together simply because I ran out of pots, and just want to see if they even last long enough to warrant buying pots for them. Hopefully we don't have black thumbs! Any tips on organic gardening would be greatly appreciated!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend,


Monday, June 6, 2011

A Kitchen!

As of May 31, we have had a fully functioning kitchen, including hot water AND countertops! It really is amazing what we take for granted and how much I have realized how lucky we really are to have all of these things. Between school, exams, papers, work, and a weekend away for a bridal shower, I have had no time for this space, and I apologize for being so vacant lately. Here are some pictures of the gorgeous new space of ours, and a little gift from my grandmother, dropped off last night.

tons of counter space, perfect for bread baking.

so much storage!

some great little glass jars! I love the center one, I think it will be great for a spice!

My class ends on Monday, so I will probably be gone until then, studying and finishing up my final paper. I have absolutely loved this class, and I will be sad to see it end! Luckily, I start a second one at the beginning of July, which should be just as enjoyable. Hope to see you soon!