Traditions

Awe JAM! Its Strawberry Season

Fresh Oregon Strawberries can you smell them? Delicious

Have you noticed the produce and fruit has been sweeter than ever this year? Is it the change in the environment or us all finding more appreciation of the tasty simple things? Well I probably squealed at the produce stand to smell and see such beauties. Quadruple the normal size and so red and sweet. Yes my yearly jam time for holiday gifts. Nothing taste better than Oregon Strawberry jam in the middle of a December snow. A sweet reminder of summer beauty to hug your memory and taste buds. If you ever visit my home in the winter you will always leave with a jar in hand. Making jam/ preserves is easy and so long term rewarding. Enjoy!

Most important is having all the right tools needed for success.

The right tools make Preserve making simple

I found this cool old funnel in an estate sale years ago. I think it gives my jam happy mojo.

You also want to be sure your jars are washed and dried. Have new lids with seals and lid rings. The sealed lids can be bought in small packs to assure you have a clean product.

Heated clean jars make process flawless. Ne sure to use thongs to hold they get hot. 225 degree oven.

I use sur-gel pectin to make the process simple and well sure to set up right. Follow the simple directions in package for what fruit your jarring. for strawberry as Im showing its as follows.

  • 5 cups cleaned sliced smashed berried. (about 7 pints whole)
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 pac sur-gel pectin
  • Tsp lemon
  • Tsp butter

  1. Stock pot
  2. Canning pot of boiling water
  3. Canning funnel
  4. Canning jar tongs
  5. Ladle
  6. Masher
  7. Jars- lids- rings
  8. High temp spatula
  9. Tongs to grab hot empty jars and lids

Prep wash jars and lids. Place jars on cookie sheet in 225 degree oven to heat. Place seal lids in small pan of water simmering til use. Fill canning pot with water to height will just cover jars. Get water heating to a slow boil.

Prep fruit. Clean and slice strawberries. Mash in bowl to desired consistency. I like big strawberry chunks in my jam.

Measure 5 cups mashed into your stock pot with pectin and butter and heat to a full boil. Butter will keep from foaming.

Add sugar. Bring back to a full rolling boil. Allow to roll boil for one solid minute at this point.

Its jarring time!

I like to work over a kitchen towel on my colder countertops. Take a hot jar from oven with tongs and ladle jame i. Thru funnel just below the rim. You can see the line on the funnel when just at bottom edge. Carefully placed lid on clean jar top and ring seal tight. Jars are hot. Be careful.

I like to water process my jars since these will be gifts as well.

After filling and sealing all your jars- place in water bath boiling for ten full minutes.

After process leave out on toweled counter to cool for the day. The seals will “pop” why they cool. I love the sound of its all done!

Shut my mouth! Soooo good. ❤️

breakfast, Gluten Free, Dairy free, kitchen Tips, Traditions, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Morning Skillet Potatoes

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I am all about easy and fast these days.  Not just because if time but with us all cooking so much more-  we want to be useful with what we have as well as healthy and tasty.  My FAVORITE is baked potato night at home.  We do a big assembly line of toppings and you make your own.  I always bake two extra potatoes just in case there is company.  But we all know it’s for the easy morning skillet you can make with the left over spuds.  Simple-Fast and add a dippy egg on top and you have breakfast bliss. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Two good sized bakers potatoes-cooked
  • Mixed bell peppers Green, yellow, red chopped
  • Small sweet onion cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic fresh- heaping tsp Jarred
  • seasoned garlic salt to taste
  • two Tablespoons of Canola Oil
  • Black pepper
  • parsley garnish optional

Chop potatoes and place into a prepped heated to a sizzle(add salt to oil heating) hot deep skillet or cast iron with oil.

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Chop peppers and onions on top of potatoes and press down to start a bottom crust. Flat spatula flip as bottom browns about 3-4 minutes.  don’t let it burn- but should be good and crispy in 12 minutes.

Easy short cut- I like to have chopped peppers in easy grab bags in the freezer. Frozen peppers work great in this skillet.

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Serve as a yummy side to the star of the plate with a glorious runny egg on top.  Enjoy.

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breakfast, High Protein, Traditions, Vegetarian

Protein Packed Blueberry Griddle cakes

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This is a great versatile pancake that is packed with protein, fiber, low fat and no refined sugar.  Its made with Cottage cheese and egg whites. So gives a healthy kick for the day or great meal for after that big workout. I like to have a bit of honey or sugar free syrup to dip.  They are also yummy just as a grab and snack finger food when you just want a nibble.

  • 1 cup Fat free cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 2egg whites
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • tsp cinnamon
  • tsp vanilla
  • Optional 1 tsp splenda
  • fresh berries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, nuts be creative

Blend all ingredients to a smooth batter texture.  Drop Fruit or nuts on top of each griddle cake.

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Cook on hot skillet with light nonstick spray. Serve with side of syrup.  Make two servings of approximately 12 small cakes.

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Gluten Free, Dairy free, Poultry, Salads, Traditions

Protein Packed Wild Rice Salad

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This is a yummy option for my Gluten Free and Dairy free friends.  Since the massive time at home during the safe  this is a great option to enjoy hot or cold.  It seasons and save wonderfully in the fridge for a quick snack.  I also have incorporated the TVP(Textured Vegetable Protein) to add that extra punch.  Its a yummy bowl at it best.  Can be eaten as a meal or a fabulous side dish to any BBQ. Remove Chicken and its Vegan! Enjoy.

  • 2 cups wild rice cooked
  • Chicken Breast (grilled and chopped)
  • 1 Cup TVP rehydrated
  • 1/2 cup each chopped veggies
    • sweet onion
    • red pepper
    • cucumber
    • peeled celery
    • cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup FF olive oil Italian dressing(alternative olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sweet basil chopped

The versatile salad you can add or remove pretty much anything you like. Feta Cheese is good in this for the cheese lovers. I have fresh blueberries but strawberries or chopped green apple is yummy as well. Mix all together in a big bowl and allow to season for at least 30 minutes before serving. The TVP add a nice Harty chew to this salad.

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Gluten Free, Dairy free, Traditions, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Protein Alternative

I have been getting request for Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy free, high protein, healthy options. Not that my cooking isn’t healthy but us southern cooks do gravitate to real butter and heavy cream at times. so I decided to do some research and start coming up with some original options in these categories. I discovered a great protein alternative called TVP(Textured vegetable protein). Bobs Red Mill makes a very affordable product that I found to be very tasty. It has a unique chewy texture that when rehydrated and mixed in with sauces, chili, soups, salads.  Check out my Protein Packed Wild Rice Recipe.

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Traditions, Vegetable

Fried Okra cornmeal style

This is one of my favorites from My Grandmother Grace. This is a little this and that recipe.Grace was a Texan woman that lived in West Texas. She had real grit! Like her peppers on fire from the hot garden and could eat them raw off the vine. She made fresh okra In a cast iron skillet with fresh corn meal. The crumbles have a glorious popcorn flavor. (Sorry pictured not in cast iron as I highly recommend for the heat)

Mess of clean chopped okra

Cornmeal to cover pan.(1-2 cups)

Canola oil salt and pepper

Bring pan and enough oil to cover pan on high- add okra and cover w cornmeal.

Season.

Cook tossing continually not to burn but not to rough to hurt Okra. Until brown. About ten minutes.

Eat it up!

You can use bagged frozen okra. Be cautious putting into oil/ will spatter.

You might need to add oil if too dry.

Traditions

Shepherds Pie- from a childhood memory.

Comfort pie

So growing up the youngest- I have so many memories of the really cool friends of my older siblings. One person especially was a great Scotsman of the Campbell clan, named Andrew, with a huge red beard and a personality that was vibrant and alive. He was very smitten with my sister Leslie. I would say he was at least ten feet tall and wearing a kilt with a laugh that made anybody smile. Of course this is the memory of a 7 year old me. I just remember his kindness and love of good food. He made a Shepherds pie that still to this day makes my mouth water and heart warm. I hope you enjoy…

  • Hearty pie crust dough (scratch or store bought works fine)
  • 1 lb Ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup Chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 2 clove chopped garlic
  • Garlic powder
  • tsp Rosemary
  • tsp oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs beef better than bullion base
  • Olive oil
  • Mashed potatoes approx 4 cups
  • – I make my potatoes with evaporated canned milk. It adds a richness with out all the heavy cream and butter. Make on wetter side for baking

Saute chopped carrots and celery until tender in olive oil keeping peas out until pie assembly. Nothing worst than mushy peas. Set aside.

Brown meats with seasonings onion add garlic last couple minutes and drain well in paper towels. Lamb is very fatty.

Small bowl- mix 2 cups warm water- bouillon and two heaping Tbs corn starch.

Bring all veggies and meat together in skillet and add bouillon-corn starch mixture. Bring to low simmer boil until thickened. Taste. Salt and pepper- Taste again. Good??? More pepper if you like a bite- I like this more savory less spice.

You want this a bit saucy and potatoes wet so it can bake and not dry out.

Place pie crust dough in deep pie plate or casserole plate.

Cover with seasoned rich Mashed potatoes. (Some like cheddar on top as well- Im more traditional)

Bake in 375 oven 45 minutes uncovered and pie crust is golden brown.

Serve hot out of the oven- or good as a cold slice for leftover lunch pail.

A true hug in a pie plate!

I can smell it baking … makes my mouth water. Love from my kitchen to yours.