Jammin’!

The word ¬†jammin’ reminds me of a college professor I had my junior year. He taught computer programming and every time a student answered a question correctly, he would gleefully shout “Jammin’!”. In fact, I think he shouted that word any time he was happy, which was often. The title of this post is twofold: (1) I quit my job a week ago and couldn’t be happier about the decision – it was impulsive and unplanned, but needed to happen; and (2) It’s berry season and I’ve been busy making jams!!! Jammin’!!

While I am feeling mighty insecure financially, I have some plans brewing… Hopefully I can share them with people soon… We shall see!

And now, it’s jam time:

Tim and I went raspberry picking a few days ago – a total luxury on a weekday morning – we were the only people in the raspberry field! We didn’t pick our usual 20+ pound haul, but we did pick enough to last us several months (I hope!). A majority of the raspberries have settled cozily in the freezer and our bellies. The remaining bunch made a nice batch of jam. It’s maddeningly hot in Portland and preparing jam makes a tiny kitchen even hotter, but I don’t care. Homemade jam is pretty much a necessity if you live with Tim. What seems like enough to feed and army usually lasts a day or two. That’s a slight exaggeration, but Tim is the biggest jam-snarfer I know. To be fair, he does help with the process by obediently stirring jam on the stovetop and making spaceship noises as he lowers the jars into the canner (and again upon their removal). I am convinced our jam is better as a result.

Anyways, the very first time I made jam I used a recipe printed in my local newspaper. It has become my favorite recipe although I have adjusted the sugar amount slightly (I know this is a no-no, but overly sweet jam masks the flavor of the fruit and I’ve never had any troubles using less sugar). Here is a link to the recipe. I replace the butter in the recipe with Earth Balance (and sometimes don’t even add that because it isn’t necessary). If you have never made your own jam before, you should try, it’s fun and rewarding!

So far this season I have made both strawberry and raspberry jams. Up next: blueberry, cherry, peach, and apricot! Mmm! And, what goes nicely with homemade jam? Homemade bread!

This is a basic whole wheat bread that I rolled in a bunch of seeds. Warm weather is ideal for bread baking because the dough rises like crazy (and quickly too!). Tim and I ate PB&J’s with homemade jam, homemade peanut butter, and homemade bread. Living on a new food budget isn’t so bad!

Enjoy your weekends! Now that my schedule is more open I hope to post more often. Fingers crossed!

Berried in Berries

I am suffering from a bit of an addiction: berry picking. Summer is the time of year when I can restock my cupboards with homemade jams, cram my freezer with frozen berries (for smoothies, pancakes, waffles, etc), and fill my dehydrator with local fruits. I love picking berries and often always find myself bringing home a much larger stash of fruit than I had planned. Not to fret! It’s easy incorporating berries into daily meals/snacks/desserts!!

So far, I have dehydrated cherries, strawberries, and blueberries -primarily for snacking, but some will get tossed into a batch of granola eventually. I have also been making mass quantities of jam because somebody I know lives off of PB&J sandwiches. Homemade jam also makes a great gift for family and friends. One of the more recent jams I made was a blueberry jam with subtle hints of orange.

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Other jams taking up residence in the panrty:  raspberry, vanilla bing cherry, strawberry, and cherry syrup. Phew! Next up: dill pickles!!!

I have also started testing recipes for vegan cookbook author Brian McCarthy, who is working on a new cookbook!

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Blueberry Cobbler – subtly sweet, full of blueberry goodness, and simple to prepare

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Seitan Fajitas – Peppers, onions, and spicy seitan strips cozied up in a warm tortilla

If it weren’t so steamy and hot outside, I’d totally test the raised, glazed donuts recipe next!!! Although, we all must make sacrifices…