Strawberry Chia Seed Jam in the Crock-pot

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I have made strawberry jam in the crock-pot before. Using apple for the pectin to make it gel. For me that process it hit or miss, one time I used apples it set up fine the next time we ended up with strawberry syrup. Then I got some Chia seeds to use as egg substitute in baking. You mix 1 tablespoon Chia seeds in 3 tablespoon of water let it set for at least 15 minutes. The seeds absorb the water and you are left with this jello type mass to use in place of your egg.

That got my dark mind racing, ideas began to form. I think there may have been evil plotting music playing in the background. Or that might have been in my head. I asked myself, can it work? Will Chia seeds be the gel that holds my jam together?

I went to Pinterest (I go there now before heading to Google) to search this out. I discovered that yes, yes you can use Chia seeds. Once I discovered that golden gem of knowledge I began to form a recipe. I then tried that recipe out. Eureka! It worked!


 

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Ingredients:

4 packets of Truvia (or 6 for a sweeter jam) You can also use granulated sugar. ½ cup.

2 pints strawberries, cut in half

¼ c. lemon juice (this will help the strawberries keep their red coloring)

2 tbsp. Chia seed

In the Crock-pot add berries, lemon and Truvia. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Stir and mash your mixture up some. Cover and cook 1 more hour. Stir. Cook uncovered for 2 hours or until the mixture thickens/reduces down some. Stir in Chia seeds. Let set about 15 minutes. Then pour into your jars. Refrigerate and/or freeze.

Strawberries, sweetener and lemon juice in crock pot

Strawberries, sweetener and lemon juice in crock pot

I wish I could tell you exactly how much this made but it seems the day I made it and before I could put all of it into jars the husband went on a PB&J kick. I did manage to fill two 4 oz. jars and one 8 oz container before he confiscated the rest. He ate a lot of PB&J over the following days. His only complaint… he would have liked it to be a little sweeter. Next time I make the jam I will use more sweetener.

Nice and cold. oh so yummy

Nice and cold. oh so yummy

That was a month ago. I froze the 8 oz container of the jam. Today I thawed it out to see how well it held up. It was still great.

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Cookies plus Chocolate equals Happiness

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In a world filled with stress and tragedy bombarding us everyday we need something to help us cope, something to fill us with happiness even. Is there such a thing that can do this? Is it possible something can bring us joy amidst the stresses in life?
Hell yes there is something. Chocolate. Chocolate by itself, chocolate with marshmallows, with peanut butter, with ice cream, in milk, in cookies, chocolate covering other items, like nuts or raisins or even bugs. For the record I have never ate a chocolate covered bug but If there is ever a chocolate shortage and that’s what’s available. Look out bugs.

Today it is chocolate chip cookies that are calling my name. “Gotha. Gotha” they are whispering to me.
I found a pin that took me to a post with several chocolate recipes. This one claimed to be THE Best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Was it the best? Close, what would have made them the best was if someone else had baked them for me. Ha-ha. Seriously, out of all the chocolate cookie recipes I have tried over the years this one is my new #1.
Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I used 1 cup, I’m a rebel that way)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. I used a hand mixer and it works better if you use a fork to work your butter a few minutes before using the hand mixer. Add the brown sugar along with the sugar, mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Next add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix in the wet ingredients until well combined. The cookie dough will be thick, if you’re using a hand mixer it will be struggling at this point. Add the chocolate chips and mix for several seconds until evenly disbursed, at this time I just used a fork to mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with aluminum foil to chill for at least 1 hour.
After the dough chills is done chilling out in the fridge let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. I used a silicone mat, I love it!
Roll into balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough per balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should keep up to one week. If they last that long, they are pretty darn good.
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Strawberry Cobbler

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The husband and I went down the road to the strawberry farm this past weekend. We brought home a huge container of strawberries. HUGE! Once home I chopped most to freeze for smoothies. Used some for Strawberry Chia Jam. Recipe for jam will come at a later date. The last thing I made was a fresh Strawberry Cobbler (recipe a friend shared with me). My husband called it a pie but it’s a cobbler. He is still saying it was a pie. Poor misguided soul.
Oh my it was yummy no matter what you call it.

Cobblers. It seems everybody has their favorite recipe. To me the key to a good cobbler is the cake like top. If it’s not good it doesn’t matter how wonderful your filling is. This is a new recipe for me. It is not my favorite but it is a good cobbler. Darn good cobbler. One day I will share my two go to cobblers. They are simple, fool proof and so amazingly tasty.

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler

Fresh strawberries. Enough to fill you pan/pie dish over half full.
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup granulated sugar (I only had half a cup so I did half granulated sugar and half coconut sugar)
½ cup melted butter
1 egg

Chop your strawberries. Put in the pan the amount of strawberries you think is plenty. Now put in some more. These guys will cook down a lot. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of your sugar over the fruit.
Mix your Bisquick, rest of sugar, egg and butter together. You will have a thick batter type concoction. Spoon this over your strawberries.
Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Fresh picked strawberries

Fresh picked strawberries


Sugar mixture

Sugar mixture


batter topping

batter topping


I had a piece with a little bit of whipped cream. The husband had his with vanilla ice cream along with a huge helping of whipped cream. It was good. If I make this again I will either add more melted butter or some water to the batter topping. I think a thinner batter would have mingled more with the strawberries instead of just floating on top.
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Chia Seed Pancakes

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Yes it is true I have a new love in my life. I have fallen for Chia seeds. I use the Chia seeds to replace eggs in most of my baking recipes. This weekend I used them in my pancake mix. If you are wondering how Chia seeds affect the taste, they don’t. Your baked goods will still have the same great taste you are used to. The only thing I noticed different about my pancakes and this could be all in my head is the pancakes seem to soak up the syrup more than my usual pancakes. Still they are very tasty pancakes and more filling since Chia Seeds contain fiber.
The Chia seeds I am using now I got from Amazon. My local Ingles carries them also. I think Wal-Mart may carry sell them. You will think they are pricey (I did at first) but I use them a lot. A LOT and I have only used have a bag. They go far.

This is the basic egg replacement how-to for 1 egg:
1 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp water
Mix in a small bowl, let set for 15 to 20 minutes for the seeds to absorb the water and gel. I like to call it Chia Goop. You can also make the goop ahead and store in fridge for up to a few days so it is ready when you are ready to bake.

Scratch Pancake Recipe
1-1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. coconut palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 egg (replace with chia goop)
1-1/4 cup milk (more or less, depending if you like a thick or thin batter)
1 tbsp. melted butter or oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

This is what the Chia seeds look like after they gel.

This is what the Chia seeds look like after they gel.

You can also use box mix (I use them a lot, I find the store brands are better than the name brands)
Just add 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar and the Chia goop
Even the complete mixes that don’t call for egg I still add the Chia seed goop. If you don’t want to use the Chia seed, still add an egg to the complete mixes. It just makes a better pancake batter.
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Open Sesame Chia Seed Candy

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I have been wanting to do this for awhile. I have went through tons and tons of Pins to find the perfect recipe. Is there a perfect recipe for this? I don’t know but I found the perfect recipe for me, it was more the measurement and technique I needed. I omitted and added a few things here and there.
What am I talking about?

Sesame Seed Candy!

Yes that little bitty pale unassuming seed that adorns out hamburger buns. You take that seed, work a little bit of magic, and BAM! You have a nice little candy that makes a great tasting, sorta close to healthy snack.

Here is the original Sesame Candy recipe. Below is my adapted recipe along with my account of the whole process.

Sesame Chia Seed Candy

Ingredients:

1 c. Sesame seeds
2 tbsp. Chia seeds
3-4 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. coconut sugar

Dry roast your sesame seeds for 5-7 minutes. Pour into a bowl add the Chia seeds and mix well. Set aside. In a small pot add the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, now simmer for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly. Add seeds. Stir. Pour onto a piece of wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover with another sheet of wax paper, roll candy with a rolling pin until about ½ inch thick. With a knife cut/score into 1 inch squares. Let cool. Break apart. Done!

I measured out my sesame seeds, put them in the pan to toast. I toasted mine the full 7 minutes because I wanted some of my seeds a dark brown color. After toasting I pit them and the Chia seeds in a dish. I happened to have my small pie dish close by so I used it.

Ready for toasting

Ready for toasting


Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

The pot was on the stove to heating up while I mixed my seeds together. So the pot was hot when I started measuring out the honey. I poured my first tablespoon in and it went wild with the boiling. So I had to work fast to get all the honey and the coconut sugar in the pot, while trying to stir at the same time. FYI: have what you need in arms reach, closer if you can. I was like a crazy woman trying to do all that at once with everything I needed in different place around the kitchen.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.


5 minutes and a lot of stirring later I poured in my seeds and began mixing, this comes together quick. At first you think that is not going to be enough honey mixture to coat that much seed. It is plenty.
I did not have any wax paper so I used one of my new baking mats. I used another to lay over top. I also don’t have a rolling pin (mainly for the husbands safety) so I used this high tech gadget called a can of soup. Worked fine.
Ready to roll

Ready to roll


High tech rolling technique.

High tech rolling technique.


Okay as soon as I finished rolling I tried to remove the top baking mat. Nope not a good idea some of the candy mixture was coming up with it. I just stopped pulling the mat and mashed it back down over the candy. I popped the whole thing in the freezer for maybe 2 minutes. Took it out while it was still warm enough to cut. This time the top mat came up easily. Not wanting to damage the bottom mat I used a butter knife to ‘cut’ the candy into squares. I did not cut all the way through the candy.
You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat

You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat


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After letting the candy cool a few minutes I broke the pieces apart. Both mats had sticky stuff on them but I only had to run water over them for a few seconds and they were clean. I think I might be in love with silicone baking mats.

How did the Sesame Chia Seed candy taste? Great. Sweet with a toasted nutty taste. This is going to be my midday snack at work next week. Thanks for joining me on this Pinteresting adventure.
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Parmesan Ranch Chicken Breast

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chicken strips 2

I found chicken breast and chicken tenderloins on sale last week. You know what that means. I stocked up. Now I have a freezer full of chicken. So don’t be surprised if you see a few chicken recipes posted here in the next week or two. It’s a chickenpalooza!

I made this dish the same time I made Parmesan Corn on the Cob. With mashed potatoes and yeast rolls. My husband was in dinner heaven and I ended up in a carb coma. I soldiered through the sluggishness to get some weeding done in my Hosta garden. There was a lot of weeding to be done. My legs are still sore. Here is the recipe adapted from IHeartNapTime

Parmesan Ranch Chicken Breast

1 packet dry ranch mix
¾ c. panko bread crumbs
¾ c. parmesan cheese
½ c. melted butter
4-6 chicken breast

Mix ranch mix, crumbs and parmesan in a shallow bowl.
Melt butter in another bowl.
Dip chicken in butter, roll in dry mix till coated.
Place on a greased 9×13 pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

I did not have a packet of Ranch dressing mix but I did have a packet of the ranch dip mix. I figured it was pretty much the same thing. This came together will fast, it just took a few minutes to get the chicken ready for the oven.

Dry mix of parmesan, ranch mix and sea salt

Dry mix of parmesan, ranch mix and sea salt

My coated breast

My coated breast

This was the best chicken I have ever made. The coating was so crunchy. Oh my. My husband could not get enough of it. Heck I could not get enough of it. I actually woke at 4 the next morning so I could make it again using chicken strips (chicken tenderloins ) to take to work for lunch.

I will make this again, probably over the weekend. Oh, I have some fiesta Ranch dip mix. Wonder how that will taste?

Tasty chicken

Tasty chicken

 

Chia Seed Egg Substitute

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Chia Seed Egg Substitute

I had been wanting to try Chia seeds for awhile now. What was stopping me was the price. Thanks to my sister Dana and her extreme coupon ways I got a great deal on a bag of Chia seeds.

I went to Pinterest, of course, to find recipes using Chia seeds. I found a few I want to try. One pin that got my attention was how to use Chia seed to replace eggs in recipes. You can add water to the seeds wait a while and bam you have a Chia seed gel thing going on.

This easy recipe will replace 1 egg.

1 tbsp. Chia seed
3 tbsp. water

Mix in a small bowl. Set aside 15 minutes.
Done.

Painless wasn’t it?

My first bag of Chia seeds. Let the adventures begin.

My first bag of Chia seeds. Let the adventures begin.


In my fancy bowl is 3 tbsp. of seeds. This will replace 3 eggs.

In my fancy bowl is 3 tbsp. of seeds. This will replace 3 eggs.


Add 9 tbsp. of water. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Add 9 tbsp. of water. Let sit for 15 minutes.


See the gel going on?

See the gel going on?