Wild Blueberry Syrup
Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes

Quick Blueberry Syrup

This is my hubby’s favorite, I try to have a small jar of it in the fridge all the time.  It makes a great ice cream, waffle, pancake or spoon topper….no lie, you’ll eat this stuff right out of the pan or jar.

Here’s the best part…it’s dead easy to make.

Wild Blueberry Syrup

 

I have never been able to grow blueberries.  I’m from northern Minnesota and they grow wild up there, but here in Colorado I think they take more mollycoddling than I’m willing to deal with.  So I buy blueberries, frozen….or fresh when I can.

The best blueberries for this sauce are wild blueberries.  I buy them at City Market in the freezer section.  You can make a cup or two of sauce with just a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of berries, so a bag of frozen will do 3 or 4 batches.

Here’s the instructions – look close – they’re quick!

Quick Blueberry Syrup
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Quick Blueberry Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2/3 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1 1" x 1/2" piece of lemon zest (i use my veggie peeler and peel off a piece)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Cornstarch to thicken (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put first 6 ingredients in a small sauce pan on medium and bring up to a simmer
  2. In a small bowl combine 1 T of cornstarch and 2-3 T of water to make a slurry
  3. Let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn up to High and bring to a boil
  4. Once sauce is bubbling good, stir in cornstarch and continue stirring until it thickens.
  5. Bring back down to a simmer once thick and cook for a couple more minutes
  6. Taste
  7. Eat
  8. Enjoy
http://lookslikehomemade.com/quick-blueberry-syrup/

 

Lightened Up Jambalaya
Recipes

Lightened Up Jambalaya – Rachel Ray Recipe

I love Cajun food.  I’m not a very good Cajun cook.  Truth is, I probably need some lessons to make authentic Cajun food.  The recipes and techniques are passed down through generations for a reason, I just don’t think you can cook something authentic with a recipe and the ability to chop some vegetables.

Lightened Up Jambalaya

That being said, I CAN make some pretty good food, not authentic does not mean not good…..in fact, most of my attempts have tasted GREAT.  The lesson here is, just because somebody’s grandma didn’t make it, doesnt mean its not good.

This recipe is one of those that is not authentic, but is still good.  I was drawn to it because of it’s lack of canned stuff and processed and packaged flavors.  The sausage, I’m sure, has some weird stuff in it, but it still tasted good.

If you wan to try a cajun-type recipe, this is one to try. Continue reading “Lightened Up Jambalaya – Rachel Ray Recipe”

Weekly Menu - 6/15 to 6/21
Menu Planning, Recipes

Weekly Menu 6/15-6/21

Weekly Menu - 6/15 to 6/21

I haven’t been doing very well with my menus lately.  We’re running a lot with the kids to baseball and softball and it seems like we aren’t eating dinner until 8 or 9 pm every night.  I hate that, its SO unhealthy!

That being said, I’m going to plan a better menu with make-aheads and crockpot items for the weekend and next week and see how we do.  It’s going to be a crazy one.

  • Friday 6/15 –  Jambalaya  & Corn Bread (I have a recipe for this – will post when I get photos)
  • Saturday 6/16 – Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Sunday 6/17 – BBQ Ribs, Corn on Cob, Potato Salad.  There’s a free concert tonight I want to see – might do this picnic style.
  • Monday 6/18 – Baked Chicken, Potato Salad, Fruit – Doing these Picnic Style – Baseball Game tonight
  • Tuesday 6/19 – Make Ahead Grilled Chicken Burritos – Recipe will follow.  Taking these Picnic style – Softball Game in Meeker, Baseball an hour away
  • Wednesday 6/20 – Spaghetti Night – we’re all home tonight!
  • Thursday 6/21Crockpot Bacon Ranch Chicken from the Crockin Girls – Love their easy recipes & we have 2 practices tonight, so need something ready to go when everyone’s ready to eat.
  • Friday 6/22 – Grilled Pork Chops with Baked Beans and Stuffed Artichokes

Well, there it is.  Should be do-able, but we’re going to have to see.  Sometimes I lose track of time working and forget to actually start making dinner until it’s too late and we need to leave for a game or practice.  We’ll see how it goes!

Freezer Organization Tips
Canning & Preserving, Inside Projects

Tips for Organizing Your Frozen Foods

Buying in bulk, portioning and freezing family packs of meat and produce have been a way for the busy home cook to save money on meals for a long time.  Unfortunately the thawing, protecting from freezer burn, and remembering what you have in the freezer is sometimes a nightmare.  I have learned, from trial and error, what works and what doesn’t so I thought I’d share some tips for freezer organization, food safety, and hassle-free dinners.

Freezer Organization Tips


First the equipment.

Freezer Organization Tips

  • I love my slide-zip freezer bags – I always have them on hand in gallon and quart sizes.  I freeze a dinner-size portion of protein for the 4 of us in one bag.  I also freeze smoothie fruit in a quart bag and just have it ready to dump in the blender.  Sometimes I even add the protein powder to the fruit before I freeze it.  It works great.
  • If you prefer, you can wrap in butcher paper.  I don’t find that this makes the meat last much longer though – UNLESS I first wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap.  My mom uses her vacuum sealer and has very good luck with it.
  • A well organized freezer is a key to knowing what you have.  I have a shelf for fruits and veggies, a shelf for convenience foods, a shelf for meat, and a drawer for big things.  I keep bread and miscellaneous things in the door.
  • A cheap pair of warm gloves.  I always hate it when my hands freeze while rummaging around int he freezer.  I keep a cheap pair of gloves on top of the freezer to slide on when I’m rummaging around.  This keeps me from hurrying because my hands are cold.
  • I always have 2 or 3 sharpies in my kitchen and by my freezer.  be sure to mark what and when on your items.  This is the best way to know what is new and what is old.

Now the tips:

  • Try to arrange your items in a single layer in your zip bag and lay flat – this makes it easier to organize in your
    freezer and much faster to freeze (safer) and thaw when it’s time to use your items. When you lay these in your freezer lay them flat until they’re frozen, then arrange however you like.
    • Note: I saw a video over on the Ziploc Facebook page that I really wanted to share here – unfortunately they dont make their video sharable.  They now have a product called perfect portion bags that allows you to portion your meat in smaller bags inside your large freezer bag.  Great idea!  Check out the Perfect Portion Bags.  Now, I’m not one for uni-tasker kitchen products, so I think I am going to try this concept with regular fold top baggies instead of the perfect portion bags FIRST.  If I don’t see much improvement with the baggies, I might try the perfect portion bags.
  • Always ALWAYS use freezer bags.  Storage bags arent insulated enough to protect your food.
  • Get rid of things that are old or have freezer burn, its not worth the hassle and the risk.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends the specific guidelines when storing frozen food.  I think I push the boundaries on some of these but stay pretty close.
  • Rotate your food, put new on the bottom and old on top so you use the old first.
  • Keep your freezer at around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.   For every five degrees Fahrenheit above zero, the recommended storage time is cut in half, so this is important!  The experts say you should freeze your food at 10-below Fahrenheit, and store it at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but who can do that with one freezer?  The coldest part of your freezer is the bottom, so you might try to freeze things in the bottom and organize it after things are solid.
  • Meats and proteins should be stored low in the freezer, veggies and bread in the top or the door (colder lower, not as cold, higher for fragile foods)
  • It is easier to maintain the 0-degrees Fahrenheit in a full freezer than a half-full or empty freezer.  If you just don’t have that much frozen food, you can fill empty spaces with your flour, rice and dried beans.  If a freezer doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain it’s temperature, you don’t have to pay as much to keep your food frozen.

 

Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes

Iced Coffee Concentrate

I am a big fan of Ree Drummond.  She writes ThePioneerWoman.com and also has a Food Network show.  I liked her blog long before her show was on, and I love that too.  Ree lives in the middle of nowhere, and loves iced coffee – so she came up with a great recipe to make iced coffee concentrate.

I am also a coffee addict.  I love skinny vanilla lattes from Starbucks…..iced or hot, I don’t really care.  I want one….ALL. THE. TIME.  Now that I work from home, running 10 miles to a Starbucks every time I want a coffee is kinda out of the question.  I solved my problem pretty handily with Ree’s help.  Here’s what you do: Continue reading “Iced Coffee Concentrate”

Light and Healthier, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Carciofi Ripieni – Stuffed Artichokes Recipe

I love Food Network – its an addiction, almost as strong as my addition to recipe & food magazines.  Yes, I know I can find all of the recipes online, but holding that color photo of yummy food in my hand and curling up on the couch with my notepad and endless possibilities is so comforting.  Heck,I could be addicted to something more expensive, like Prada or Hermes….

Maddie and I were in the grocery today and they had some nice artichokes.  Maddie said “Lets make artichokes like Mario Batali.”  Challenge Accepted.

2 things – 1) I wasnt turning the oven on today – it was hot and 2) I had no fresh parsley….its okay – we improvised with the grill and some dried herbs – they were amazing!

Here’s the Recipe:

Continue reading “Carciofi Ripieni – Stuffed Artichokes Recipe”