Oh Hot Damn! Strawberry Rhubarb Jam!

This is the first year our four rhubarb plants produced enough stalks to actually do something with, so for the first time I made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam! I just love this combination of two of the seasons first crops. It’s tangy, sweet and perfect on warm flaky biscuits, on top of ice cream, or even smeared all over your morning waffles!

This recipe contains no added pectin to help it thicken so you will need to set aside a bit more time to allow the jam to cook down and thicken on it’s own. As always remember: Safety First! Sterilize your jam jars, lids & rings before you begin. You can do this by running the jars and rings through the dishwasher, or boiling them in a pot on the stove. In a small pan, boil the lids for 5 minutes.

Jam on a fresh warm biscuit…irresistible!

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Yield: 8, 8oz Jelly Jars
Cook Time: About1 hour

Special Equipment needed:

  • Sterilized jars, lids and rings
  • Funnel
  • Ladle
  • Large pot

Ingredients:

  • 8 Cups Rhubarb, chopped
  • 5 Cups Strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 4 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Shot of vanilla – optional

What to do:

In a large pot combine all ingredients, stir gently over medium heat until contents begin to boil but NOT violently. You may need to adjust the heat as you go. Lava jam burns are no fun! Stir occasionally but allow to cook for at least one hour or until the mixture has thickened. When it coats the back of your spoon and doesn’t have runny drips the jam is done! Ladle into prepared jars on a towel, secure rings and lids. Now it’s time to can the jam! Place your jam jars in a hot water bath canner (a large pot will work just fine if you don’t have a canner), cover the jars with water and boil the jars for 10 minutes. After canning remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool undisturbed on the counter for 24 hours. You will hear the “pop” of the lids shortly! This means your canning efforts were successful. If any jars didn’t seal, pop them into the fridge and use up within a week.

Enjoy! My family loves this recipe, and …if you can manage to not stuff it all in your face it makes a great gift too!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Love Strawberry Shortcake? Love Ice Cream? Then my Fresh Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream recipe is for you. Strawberry shortcake is one of my all time favorite summer treats along with Ice Cream. Putting them both together just saves time! All you need is a blender and an Ice Cream Maker to be in dessert heaven.

A heaping bowl of Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Ingredients:

Yield: About 1 quart of ice cream.
Prep Time: 10 min

Total Time: 4 or more hours

Tip: Keep all ingredients as cold as possible to speed up the freezing process.

  • 14oz Sweetened Condensed Milk (you can make your own! find the recipe here)
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Pint of Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Small Jar of Your Favorite Strawberry Jam (I use my homemade jam)
  • 2 buttermilk biscuits crumbled
  • A container large enough to hold approximately 1 quart of ice cream (I use a loaf pan)

What To Do:

  1. Prepare your ice cream maker, and place the metal mixing tub in the freezer for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. In a blender combine the sweetened condensed milk and pint of fresh strawberries. Blend for about 20 seconds.
  3. Stir in 2 cups heavy cream then allow mixture to chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Pour the strawberry mixture into your ice cream makers mixing tub and assemble the unit. Add ice and salt according to the manufacturers instructions. It should take about 40 minutes for the ice cream to do its thing, during this time bake your biscuits (I make biscuits ahead of time and freeze them for occasions such as this) and crumble them up.
  5. When the ice cream maker stops spread 1/3rd of the ice cream into the bottom of your ice cream container. Sprinkle biscuit crumbs and dollop jam around it to your taste. Repeat the layers leaving a little jam and biscuit crumbs for the top.
  6. Now comes the hardest part: Place the ice cream into the freezer and let it chill at least 4 hours or overnight before digging in.

This ice cream is rich, with the perfect mixture of tart and sweet. It’s great after a hot summer day working outside. Strawberry season comes but once a year, ENJOY it!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Is A Hit!

Five Tips For Simpler Holidays

It is the season of excess, but it doesn’t have to mean excess stress! Here are 5 things I have started doing to make my life (and the lives of those who live with me) easier around the holidays. Plus our recipe for crock pot hot chocolate, which is sure to become a holiday favorite with your family, too!

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Apple pie

1. Make pie dough ahead of time, when you actually have time to do it. I like to make four batches of pie dough, shape them into balls, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze them in a freezer bag until I need them. Just get them out to thaw in the fridge the night before you need to bake a pie. They are ready to be rolled, filled, and baked, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up extra dishes.  Another thing you can do to eliminate pie pressure during the holidays is to can your own pie filling during the season; then all you have to do is dump it in and bake it according to your recipes directions.

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Pie filling and frozen pie dough

2. Homemade gifts. You, sir or ma’am, have worked your tail off this year preserving the finest fruit, vegetables, meats, and herbs from your homestead. Why not share the bounty? In the process, you will showcase all of your hard work. I personally love a homemade gift, especially if I can eat it. Think about it — not everyone gets to have homemade apple sauce, preserves, peaches, spaghetti sauce, or canned green beans just like Granny used to make. I also like to attach recipes to my jars; for instance, if I send someone a can of beef, I like to share my recipe for crock-pot vegetable beef soup. If I give a jar of apple pie filling, it’s nice to give them the recipe for crumble topping for an easy apple crisp. Maple syrup, honey, and even eggs make lovely gifts, too. Your life is already abundant — share it!

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Frozen cookie dough

3. Make double batches of cookies. You’re already making a mess; why not go the extra mile? If you make cookies occasionally throughout the year, you may want to consider doubling the batch. I like to make double batches when I make any kind of drop cookie or cookie you roll into a ball. I bake one batch, and the second batch I scoop with a medium sized melon baller onto a lined baking sheet and pop into the freezer. Peanut butter or molasses cookies can be rolled into balls and rolled in sugar before placing on the sheet to be frozen. I then put the frozen cookie dough into freezer bags with the type of cookie, bake temp, and time written on it. If you have an unexpected party (or one you forgot), you can bake up a batch of homemade cookies quicker than quick, and you wont have any mess to contend with other than the cookie sheet! They also make great gifts around the holidays when people get lots of goodies. Frozen cookie dough allows folks to enjoy your treats well after the sugar surge of the holidays is over.

4. Chop peel and prepare … check! One thing I have found that eliminates stress at crunch time is to have all of the little things taken care of. The night before, I chop and peel my veggies. While that seems pretty straightforward, it is a time saver. As I go along, I check things off of the list I have created to make sure I don’t forget anything. I also like to measure all my spices and other dry ingredients for each dish and combine in small glass bowls. All I have to do is grab a bowl and dump it in as I go.

5. Simplify. Do we really need to have three meats? Six different kinds of pie? Maybe settle on brunch this year! And don’t let your guests slack off, either; have them bring one of their favorite dishes. Since we will be running around trying to hit every Christmas party like crazy people in the time leading up to Christmas, our plan for Christmas Day consists of waking up, watching our boys open their gifts, sipping some coffee, and enjoying a potluck brunch with our family (and maybe some mimosas!), all from the comfort of our cozy flannel jammies! This means that there will be a crock pot full of our most favorite winter time treat … crock pot hot chocolate!!

Here is the recipe. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.

Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

• 1-1/2 quarts whole milk (if you have your own it’s even better!)
• 12 oz. whipping cream
• 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (see recipe below, or use canned)
• Vanilla to taste (I never ever measure vanilla)
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup milk chocolate chips
• Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Instructions:

1. Turn crock pot on low and combine whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Add vanilla and chocolate chips, stir in whole milk.

2. Place the lid on and let cook for 2 hours, stir with whisk occasionally, until all chocolate is melted.

3. Ladle into mugs and enjoy with a marshmallow or a shot of whipped cream! This stuff is dessert in and of itself!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk:

Yield: 2 cups

• 1 cup whole milk
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1/3 cup boiling water
• pinch of salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly with whisk.

Jake with a mug