A Time Out

I haven't updated this blog in quite some time.  My life has required that I take a time out from cooking. This year has been incredibly challenging for me and I've written some of that story through a different blog.  If you are interested, here is the link:


My hope is that I will return to this blog at some point in the future.  I so enjoy sharing and documenting my cooking adventures and I look forward to doing that again someday.


I'm Still Cooking...Kind Of

Ok...so I've been MIA here on the ole' blog. I could give you a whole list of reasons, but here are the most prominent:

1. I'm taking a grad class right now that's on children and young adult literature. I have to read a novel a week (they aren't that long..but still) and write papers on each of them. I also have to read the textbook and take notes on that because there's going to be a midterm and a final. I haven't taken a written test since I was an undergrad...so I feel compelled to be prepared. Hence, I've spending a lot of my time reading and writing for this class.

2. My husband was studying for this big test he had to take for his graduate program. He needed the computer pretty much every night to study, so I didn't get on very much. His test was a month ago, so that's not even a good reason anymore.

3. I've been trying to simplify my life a bit and not feel so busy. I have grossly failed at this attempt, but I'm still trying! Instead of pressuring myself to blog or do other things on my to-do list, I've been trying to spend a little of each day doing something relaxing like reading or watching youtube videos of baby animals like puppies and pandas.

4. I've only been cooking on and off because of my schedule. Some weeks, I can cook almost every night. Other weeks I can barely cook one night because I have things to do every day after school. (For my individual definition of cooking, please continue reading below)

Even when I haven't been able to cook new and interesting recipes, I've coerced my husband to put food together for us. He doesn't cook, but he can do simple things like make pasta or saute shrimp. Sometimes I'll have him pick up a $6 dinner from Wegman's for each of us, or he'll get one of their ready-to-bake pizzas.

Let's talk about that for a moment, shall we? We moved to this area three years ago and have yet to find a pizza delivery place that has pizza we really love. Especially since we are obsessed with Wegman's ready-to-bake pizzas that they sell near their pizza shop. We always buy a plain cheese one and then add toppings. It ends up being cheaper than delivery and twice as delicious.

One of our favorite topping combinations is broccoli and mushrooms. I just toss fresh broccoli florets and fresh mushrooms with some olive oil and then scatter them on top of a plain cheese pizza. It comes out looking like this:

Doesn't that look delicious?

For me, there is a difference between "cooking" and "making dinner". I do not intend this to sound snobby in any way...I realize that these terms are the same for most people. However, cooking is my most treasured hobby. To me, "cooking" means to create something special or new, to experiment with ingredients, or to try new techniques. The purpose of cooking isn't just to feed myself or my husband, it also enriches my life and allows me to practice my skills in the kitchen. When I try out a new recipe or technique, I think of that as "cooking". When I brown some ground turkey and add a taco seasoning pouch to it, I think of that as "making dinner". When I am in the kitchen and my only goal is getting food into our exhausted bodies in the quickest and simplest way possible, I don't feel the same exhilarating feeling as when I am in the kitchen creating something new and/or unique.

So even though I haven't been able to "cook" as often as I'd like, I've still been able to feed us and prevent a nightly outing for fast food (although, I don't object to the occasional trip to Wendy's because their new fries are completely awesome...even though I feel guilty afterward)

While we're on the topic of french fries, I'd love to share a special eating ability I have. I don't consider myself a person who has a huge appetite. I certainly eat an average amount of food, but I tend not to eat a ton in one sitting. I'm not one for seconds or thirds.


I have, what must be, a genetic ability to eat massive amounts of french fries when given the opportunity. I could argue that I have that same ability when it comes to cookies n' cream ice cream, but it's not as extreme. French fries are kind of my nemesis when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, and kind of my best friend when it comes to my taste buds. I cannot remember a time in my life where the prospect of eating french fries hasn't completely thrilled me. I feel similarly about mashed potatoes, but french fries hold a special place in my heart.

I don't ever seem to get full while eating them, either. It's kind of a phenomenon since I get easily full eating almost everything else. I can eat way more ice cream than I should...but I definitely reach a limit where I can go no further (especially since I have a love/hate relationship with dairy products. They always seem like such a wonderful idea at the time of consumption, but the happiness fades about an hour later...) It's almost as if I have some sort of super natural ability to eat french fries continuously, but I know I can't and shouldn't. Is anyone else like me or is this truly a special ability of which I'm to be proud (in a kind of embarrassed way)?

Too bad I don't have this issue with a healthier food, but I didn't design my DNA so it cannot be helped. It would be a lot better if I was more like this girl:

Instead I'm more like this girl:

Now, if you are still reading this incredibly long and somewhat pointless post, I will reward you with a recipe that definitely qualifies as "cooking" in my book. It was fairly simple and completely delicious.

Chicken Fried Rice with Leeks and Cranberries
~A great way to use left over rice~

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked, chilled long-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, swirling to coat. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt over chicken.

2. Add chicken to pan, and sauté for 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken from pan.

3. Add leek, black pepper, and remaining 5/8 teaspoon salt to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until leek is tender and golden. Add leek mixture to chicken.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add rice, stirring well to coat rice with oil; cook, without stirring, 2 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Stir rice mixture; cook, without stirring, 2 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Stir in chicken mixture, cranberries, and sage. Add wine; cook for 2 minutes or until mixture is dry, stirring constantly.

Note: I used a rotisserie chicken instead of chicken thighs. I also used left over rice from the night before. If you don't have leftovers, make sure you chill the rice for 4 hours or more.

This recipe came from the January/February issue of Cooking Light Magazine.


Sweet Treat

I have the bad habit of needing something sweet after dinner. I know that many people have this habit, so I won't be too hard on myself. Sometimes I'm able to do fruit or yogurt, but that's mostly in the summer when berries are in season. Winter fruits just don't cut it for me when it comes to a sweet treat at night.

The January/February issue of Food Network Magazine has some ideas for lighter desserts and I found one of them to be particularly delicious. As far as cookies go, this recipe is quite figure friendly. I've made them a couple of times and found them to be a wonderful light dessert. I'll eat two cookies with a small glass of milk (actually, a small glass of Lactaid because I have...shall we say...trust issues with dairy).

Word to the Wise: Just because it's labeled as "light" doesn't mean you can eat a dozen at a time. I find that people (sometimes I'm included in this group) tend to think that if something is less calories, they can eat double or triple the serving size without consequences. Not so, my friends...eating sensible portions is a habit we should stick to no matter what we're eating.

So after that uplifting message...here's the recipe!

Oatmeal Cookies
~Easy and Delicious~

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • (I actually combine chocolate chips and raisins to equal a cup and leave the walnuts out...you pretty much can put a cup of whatever combination of goodies you'd like to substitute)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk brown sugar, egg, and egg whites in a bowl.
  3. Whisk in the vegetable oil.
  4. Stir in the oats, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add chocolate chips, raisins, nuts (or a cup of whatever combination you want)
  6. Drop large spoonfuls onto lined baking sheets and gently flatten. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.


An Update for a Classic

I don't eat beef. This really isn't my choice...I just don't like it. I kind of wish I ate beef because then I could try all sorts of recipes I've always wanted to make. For now I just have to continue to swap chicken or turkey for beef whenever possible.

I've made turkey meatloaf in the past and it's turned out great, but it's fairly traditional in flavor. I recently came across a recipe in Giada De Laurentiis's cookbook, Giada At Home. I may think that Giada is kind of strange as a person, but her recipes are so incredibly delicious that I'd like to eventually own all her cookbooks.

This recipe combines some of my favorite ingredients and makes a regular old meatloaf into something really special! The only remark I would make is that it's a bit on the small side. It was fine for my husband and me, but I would double it if I were making it for guests.

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
~Extremely flavorful~

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic-and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground turkey, preferably dark meat*
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 inch nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, eggs, olive oil, feta, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan; it will fill the pan halfway.
  4. Bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 40-45 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes. Use a paper towel to remove any fat that may settle on the surface of the meatloaf.
  6. Slice and serve.
*I only had lean ground turkey breast in my freezer so I used that. It worked out fine, but was rather pale. In the future, I will try a less lean package of turkey.

This meatloaf was so moist and flavorful...it really surprised us! Turkey can sometimes be dry and flavorless, so I always have ketchup nearby for turkey meatloaf, burgers, etc. (I actually have a bit of an unhealthy relationship with ketchup...basically, I am obsessed with it and put it on tons of things. I keep a back up bottle in my garage in case I ever find myself without.)

I've tried some other great recipes lately that I can't wait to share. I've been banned from the computer at night while my husband has been using it to study for a big test he has coming up. Once the test is over, I'd like to get some more posts up with my recent cooking adventures.


Christmas Cookies

Every year, as many families, we like to make Christmas cookies. My sister and I were quite young when we first started making them on our own and it's been our special tradition ever since. I remember how we used to rub flour onto our cheeks to make it look like we had been working so hard in the kitchen. Now my sister has a little girl who helps to make them and a little boy who helps to eat them!

I can't even tell you where this recipe came from. My mom had it written on a tattered piece of paper and I copied it down from her. She may have gotten it from my grandmother who may have gotten it from her grandmother (or from the back of the Crisco container...I guess we'll never know!)

We only make these once a year because, for some reason, cut out cookies seem like a huge deal to us. It takes us hours and hours to make them, which probably has more to do with us talking and eating raw cookie dough than actually making the cookies. Nonetheless, it's a happy tradition that we look forward to all year!

Christmas Cutout Cookies

  1. First, blend together 6 cups of sifted flour, 1 tbsp of salt, and 2 1/3 cups of Crisco (shortening) using a pastry blender or two butter knives (use the butter knives to slice through the ingredients and mix them together).
  2. Then, take 2 cups of the mixture you made above and add 3/4 cups of sugar, 1 tsp of baking powder, and 1/4 cup of flour. Next, blend in 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla.
  3. Roll out the dough (don't chill it, use immediately) and use cookies cutters to cut out different shapes. Re-roll the dough that's left after you cut out the shapes and try to make as many more shapes as you can (We always feel this tremendous sense of accomplishment when we re-roll it enough times to have only a little teeny bit of dough left over).
  4. If you are using sprinkles, put them on the cookies now (before they bake). Bake at 375 degrees for somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. We never remember how long they take to bake and just try to keep an eye on them (which usually means that the first batch gets a little "brown"). After they cool, decorate with icing or whatever else is edible.
  5. Continue using the first mixture you made to make batches of dough (by adding the sugar, baking powder, flour, egg, and vanilla).
There are a few cookies recipes we make every year that are close to our hearts. Peanut Blossoms are a classic cookie recipe that we got from our Aunt Wendy. I always make Spritz cookies for me and my Mom because we love them with coffee! I can't remember where I got the recipe for Spritz cookies, but there are about a million versions online. You need to have a cookie press to make Spritz cookies and they can be purchased very inexpensively at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond or Amazon.

Peanut Blossoms
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 14 oz. bag of Hershey kisses
  • Extra sugar for rolling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the Hershey kisses and extra sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Mix on the lowest speed until dough forms.
  4. Shape the dough into little balls and then roll into extra sugar.
  5. Put on an ungreased cookie sheet (I like to bake mine on parchment paper). Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  6. While they are baking, unwrap the kisses. When you remove the cookies from the oven, immediately press one kiss into each cookie. Let them cool completely and be careful when putting them into a container because the kisses will remain soft for quite a while.
  7. This recipe makes about 8 dozen cookies, but I typically double it at Christmas so that I can give many away.

Classic Spritz Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar (I put it in my mixer for several minutes until it's light and fluffy)
  3. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat together well.
  4. Stir together the flour and baking powder and then gradually add to the creamed mixture.
  5. Mix until it's a smooth dough. Don't chill it.
  6. Put the dough into the press and press cookies directly onto the baking sheet. Decorate with sprinkles if desired and then bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove the cookies, cool completely on a baking rack. This recipe makes about 7-8 dozen cookies.
There are lots of other cookie recipes that I've tried and loved, but I'll leave you with one more. In many ways, this is my favorite one because they are so easy and very delicious. I make these all year around and everyone always enjoys them!

Crispy Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 package of yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c water
  • 3 c crisp rice cereal crushed (Rice Krispies)
  • Raspberry or strawberry preserves or Andes mint candies cut in half
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine cake mix, oil, egg and water. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add cereal; mix until well blended.
  3. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Use thumb to make indentation in each cookie. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into center of cookie. (Or place 1/2 of mint candy in center of each cookie).
  4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies 1 minute on baking sheet; remove from baking sheet to wire wrack to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Food to Keep You Warm

Now that the weather is changing (at least it is in Pennsylvania), I enjoy making food that is warm and comforting. The first things that come to mind for me are soups and stews.

Soups and stews are convenient and wonderful for a number of reasons. First of all, they are one pot dinners. I don't have to make anything to go with them (usually) and there is minimal cleanup. Second of all, I can easily double a recipe and freeze the leftovers for another week. Soups with a cream base don't freeze well, but almost all other soups do. Third of all, they are often very well balanced and healthy meals. There's usually at least one veggie involved and, many times, the other ingredients aren't very high in fat. Finally, they make a great lunch the next day as they reheat beautifully.

I have plenty of soup and stew recipes that I've made over the past few years. Here are some new ones I've tried in the last couple of weeks.

Shrimp and Chorizo Stew
~This is absolutely filling and delicious~

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 oz. Spanish chorizo, casings removed, sliced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup canned whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus 1/2 cup juice from the can
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the chorizo, paprika, and 1 tsp salt and cook until the oil turns deep red, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes (reserve the juice), the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and cook 1 more minute.
  4. Add the potatoes, 2 cups water, the tomato juice, and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the kale and cook until the potatoes and kale are tender, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the shrimp and simmer just until they curl and turn pink, about 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and ladle the stew into bowls.
Recipe from the October 2010 edition of Food Network Magazine

This next recipe seemed like one I wouldn't like at first glance. I don't mind coconut, but I don't love it. Once I read through the recipe, I realized that it was made with coconut milk which is a bit more subtle than coconut flakes. I also have an on again/off again kind of relationship with carrots. Sometimes they work for me and sometimes I find them disgusting. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just try this recipe. I liked it a lot, but I don't think I would have liked it as much without bread to balance out the strong flavors. I heated up some Naan bread that I bought frozen at Trader Joe's. Yum!!

Coconut Shrimp Soup
~This Thai recipe is packed with flavor~

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb carrots (6 to 9 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 oz angel hair pasta
  • 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt (Kosher)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Heat the oil in a large (3 quart) saucepan over medium-low heat (I used a Dutch oven). Add the ginger, garlic, and the pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  2. Add the carrots, coconut milk, and 3 cups water. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and 2 tbsp water until smooth; add to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  3. Break the pasta in half; add to the pot. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the pasta is al dente and the carrots are just tender (about 3 or 4 minutes).
  4. Add the shrimp; stir until opaque, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lime juice; season with salt. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Great Food Fast by Everday Food (A Martha Stewart Living publication)

We all know how much I love Pam Anderson (no, not that Pamela Anderson). My parents gave me one of her cookbooks for my birthday. It's called The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great. I'm really enjoying it because she gives great tips for eating healthy without sacrificing flavor. I needed a quick recipe that used most pantry ingredients last week and I knew Pam would have one for me. This soup was fast, easy, and delicious served with tortilla chips for dipping.

Creamy Chili-Corn Soup with Chicken and Black Beans
~Using a rotisserie chicken makes this even faster~

  • 2 tsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) creamed corn
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I hate cilantro, so I used Italian parsley)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, heat oil and garlic over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Add chili powder and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add corn, tomatoes, broth, beans, chiles, and chicken. Bring to ta boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cilantro, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Yes, it's really that simple. It's also only 377 calories per 2-cup serving.

I will certainly continue to try new recipes for soups and stews throughout these cold months. When I come across some good ones, I'll do my best to share them!


Canning Series - Fruit

We gathered once again at the Kitchen Workshop for our canning series. If you don't know how to can or forget the specifics, go to this post for a step-by-step guide.
This time, our focus was fruit. This differs from the fruit spread course because these recipes serve better as dessert toppers, not as jams or jellies. We made some seriously decadent stuff! I'll just dive right in.

Blackberries in Framboise
~Absolutely delicious~

Makes about 4 (8 oz) half pints

You will need:
  • 6 cups blackberries, divided
  • Water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 4 inches), broken into pieces
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg1/2 cup framboise or other raspberry liqueur4 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1. Place 2 cups of blackberries in a stainless steel saucepan. Using a potato masher, crush slightly. Add 3 tbsp water. Cover and boil gently over medium-low heat until fruit is soft, about 2 minutes. Strain though a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth set over a glass measure to collect 1/2 cup blackberry juice.

2. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

3. Combine sugar, cinnamon stick pieces, lemon zest, nutmeg and 2 cups water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Strain and return syrup to saucepan. Add blackberry juice, remaining blackberries and framboise. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly but gently so as not to crush blackberries.

4. Pack hot blackberries into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, using a slotted spoon. Ladle hot syrup into jar to cover blackberries lea ving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more syrup to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

5. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Raspberry Chocolate Sundae Topper

~This look just like raspberry sauce but is surprisingly chocolately~

Makes about 6 (8 oz) half pints

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1.75-oz pkg Ball® Original Fruit Pectin
  • 4-1/2 cups crushed red raspberries
  • 6-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

2. Combine cocoa powder and pectin in a medium glass bowl, stirring until evenly blended. Set aside.

(Didn't the raspberries look lovely before we crushed them?)

3. Combine crushed raspberries and lemon juice in a large stainless steel saucepan . Whisk in pectin mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring const antly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

4. Ladle hot sundae topper into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

5. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Peach Rum Sauce
~Another wonderful dessert item to have on hand~

Makes about 7 (8 oz) half pints

You will need:
  • 6 cups chopped pitted peeled peaches, treated to prevent browning and drained
  • 2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup rum
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

2. Combine peaches, brown sugar, granulated sugar, rum and lemon zest in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

3. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more sauce to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

4. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

I'm not sure if we'll have any more canning classes this season, but if we do I'll be sure to let you know what we whipped up!