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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Frankly My Dear, I Don’t Give a Jam

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jam

I had a strawberry dilemma. Too many strawberries for us to eat. They were on sale, how could I resist that? I had already frozen plenty for smoothies and still had a ton left over. I decided to try something that’s been at the back of my mind. A longing you might say. For what you ask? Jam, crock pot jam. On Pinterest there are many recipes for this glorious breakfast treat. Most require pectin. I was out of pectin and you should know by now I won’t go the store just to pick up one item. I did find one pin that used apples in place of pectin. I just so happened to have an apple handy. As a matter of fact I was going to munch on it while cruising Pinterest. Thankfully I hadn’t taken a bite before finding that pin.

Here is the Crock Pot Strawberry Jam pin.

Here’s the recipe and if you continue reading past that you can read my little strawberry jam session.

Crock Pot Strawberry Jam
Ingredients:
2lbs fresh strawberries, sliced
4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-1.75 oz box pectin or peeled and slice medium size apple

Directions:
Spray crock pot with non stick cooking spray or line with crock pot liner/parchment paper. Add ingredients into a bowl. Smash/mix until combined well. Add into crock pot. Cover and cook on low for approx 8 hours or high for 4 hours, once strawberries are soft. Pour into your containers. It will thicken as it cools.

My jam session. I halved the recipe, if things went bad with the jam I had only ruined one pound of strawberries. I just threw everything into the crock pot. I like my jam chunky so there was no smashing going on. As I was tossing everything into the pot I was singing, loudly, “we be jamming, we be jamming” This lasted only a minute before I heard my husband shout from the living room, “Shut the hell up my ears are bleeding!” My singing is bad, so so bad. So I laughed at the hubby before continuing with the noise I call singing.
I let the strawberry concoction cook overnight, cooked it on low for nine hours. I planned on eight hours but I overslept the next morning.

sugar berriessugar apple berry

 

When I checked it that morning the ‘jelly’ was more like strawberry juice. It will thicken as it cools but it should have thickened some in the pot. So I turned the pot up to high and let the jam cook for another hour without the lid on. I don’t know if that caused it to thicken I just know that it did thicken up slightly. I poured the mixture into three small canning jars, put the lids on then let the jam cool. It did ‘set’ after it cooled. It wasn’t a hard set like some store bought jams.

 

That night for dinner I made breakfast just so we could try the strawberry jam. As I was spreading it on my bread, my bread whispered, “Oh yeah, spread it just like that. Ahh nice.” Most store bought jams don’t spread so easily and often tear the bread. But not this stuff, it spread so easy.

How did it taste? Amazing. I will never use store bought again. Ever. I put some in the freezer so it would stay good for awhile. Yeah, it was gone in four days. Do yourself a favor and try this crock pot jam thing.

There will be more strawberry recipes coming this summer. Just one mile from my house is a strawberry farm. You can go pick them yourself or get a big ole basket of freshly picked. Actually the strawberry patch is my back up plan. The hubby and I built a wooden strawberry planter late last summer and this year I shall plant my own strawberries. It’s my first time growing them so if it is a disaster the strawberry patch will save the day.

So I’m actually killing two pins with one post. The next pin was once again just a pin with a photo, no instructions. But for this the photo was enough. First before I reveal this pin you must promise to not tell anyone I did this. I am known for my dark soullessness if this gets out my reputation is ruined. I would no longer be able to face the creatures of the night with my head held high.

Since I can’t make you sign something in blood I am going to assume you will keep my undark side a secret. Here is what I did. I made… heart shaped pancakes. Yes I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

This is how to heart your pancakes. Make you batter thinner than you normally do. Pour into a squirt bottle, the kind that restaurants put ketchup and other sauces in. Use that to draw a heart outline then just fill in with more batter from the bottle. Easy as that. This is so easy you will no longer use the phrase easy as pie instead you will be saying, “Well that was easy as heart shaped pancakes.”

heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heart pancakes

I heart pancakes

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to share another secret, this one is okay if you want to share it. I am known for my pancakes. People have came to visit just to get me to make them pancakes.

Gotha’s Somewhat Famous Pancakes
You will need:
A store brand (name brands don’t do as well) complete pancake mix.
1 or 2 eggs, depending on how much batter you plan to make.
Water.
Ground cinnamon.
A little sugar.
Vanilla extract.

I never measure. I’ve been making these over 20 years I have no need to measure at this point. The eggs, if you are making pancakes for two people 1 egg is plenty. More than that 2 eggs will do. Cinnamon, I like cinnamon, a lot. I use a good bit. For most people, a teaspoon should be plenty. For the sugar I just use a spoonful. (What’s a spoonful? Whatever spoon I’m going to use to mix the pancake batter with). Vanilla extract, a cap full. Or just a quick pour from the bottle like I do. Use enough water to make the batter just a tad thicker than thin. Kind of like a cake batter. If it’s like a brownie mix that is way too thick.
That’s it.

Two pins, a pancake recipe and some out of tune singing. It’s all in a days work in the Pinteresting life of Gotha Stewart.

Give Me Crock-Pot or Give Me Death

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Holy cow or in this case holy chicken!
I recently made a crock-pot meal I saw on Pinterest (surprise, right?)The pin was just a screenshot of a Facebook post showing the recipe. Sweet Baby Ray’s Crock-pot Chicken.

You have easy and then you have EASY. This was EASY.
I threw everything in the crock-pot before leaving for work yesterday morning. Cooked the chicken slow and low for 10 hours. The recipe instructions gave a 4-6 hour cook time. My chicken cooked while I was at work that’s why mine cooked as long as it did. The chicken was delicious, wasn’t tough. There was a nice dark glaze on the meat.
I shredded the chicken with a fork for BBQ sandwiches. There was a tasty sauce left in the pot that worked get as a sauce for our sandwiches. This will be a regular dish here at the crypt.

BBQ chicken sandwich- yum

BBQ chicken sandwich- yum

Sweet Baby Ray’s Crock-pot Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray sauce (I used a small bottle it was perfect for 4 breasts. I would use a bigger bottle for 6)
½ cup vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder (I didn’t have powder so I used fresh chopped garlic)
Mix everything but chicken in a bowl. Place chicken in crock-pot, pour in sauce. Turn crock-pot on low and forget about it. Go to work, read a book, relax, hide a body or take over the world. Let the crock-pot work its magic. 4, 6 or even 10 hours later sit down and enjoy a great meal.

A snapshot from the pot.

A snapshot from the pot.

Dark Celebrations

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Celebrations. We use them to mark major events in our lives, we use them as opportunities to see people we care about that we don’t see often enough, most of all we use them as an excuse to over eat. Amen on that last part!

To me celebrations also mean that I can spend hours on Pinterest ‘researching’ on what to cook, how to decorate, or find the perfect little DIY hostess/guest take home gift. I also like to show off the new additions to my little morbidly dark family. My two granddaughters (Little Miss K and her sister Miss S) and our most recent addition: Skelly.

Skelly was a homeless soul who spent his time hanging out on a shelf in a big store. I saw him on several visits I made in September, finally I had to step in and give this guy a home. Skelly came home and spent most of the next few weeks sitting outside in a lawn chair waving to the neighbors and yes most waved back.

I was finally able to coax him inside after Halloween. Now he sits at the kitchen table. So when I hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year I thought why not use this family function to welcome skelly? So yes Skelly sat between my mom and dad during the big Turkey Day meal. Afterwards during family picture time everyone wanted Skelly in their picture. A friend of the family posted the picture of them on FB stating he was her boyfriend.

Skelly waving to the neighbors. The Thanksgiving celebration.

Skelly waving to the neighbors. The Thanksgiving celebration.

Skelly just so happens to be sitting right beside me now watching me type this blog. So it was my year to host Turkey Day. I once cooked a whole turkey in the late 90s. A lot of work but it turned out good but I’m all about making things easy. So Pinteresting I went. Short time later….Crock Pot Turkey Breast pin was found. Oh happy day. This my fellow goth or goth loving friend turned out so good that this dish is a regular at the Gotha Stewart household.

The trick is to find the right size breast to fit in your crock pot. Mine was a tad to big and the lid wouldn’t close completely, I knew once it cooked down some everything would be okay. Till then I put the lid on and used a brick on top to hold down the lid. Speaking of crock pot cooking. This was the first time I tried liners in the crock pot. Oh my dear. Why had I never used these things before? Best. Invention. Ever.

Here is the pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/314337248963062781/

I did not brown the top of the breast under a broiler. That’s more for looks anyway. The family was ready to eat so presentation was not a top priority. Rave reviews on this sacrificial bird! TRY THIS !

My daughter turned 20 this past August. I knew right away I was going to make her a multi colored cake. Purple/orange on inside with green icing. I used the batter coloring method from a past blog. People have asked what I use to color the batter. You can use the liquid food coloring or the thick gel stuff. I use the gel stuff. You can get a dark color without watering the batter down.

What I use to color my cake batter.

What I use to color my cake batter.

Before baking

Before baking

 

The Birthday Cake

The Birthday Cake

Plastic spiders are from Party City. Just wash them in soapy water before contact with food.

The guts of the cake

The guts of the cake

My sister has a birthday this week. Sorry I cannot reveal her age. She would kill me. For her I wanted to make her a Midori cake. Pinteresting I went. Every recipe I found called for only a few tablespoons of Midori. Really? Just a tad? If I’m putting it in a cake I want to be able to taste it. So here is what I did, and you can too. Whatever white cake mix or recipe you use, replace the liquid with Midori. If it calls for ¾ cup of water or milk. Use ¾ cup of Midori. The alcohol bakes out.
For Sister D I made Midori cupcakes. You can use a little Midori to flavor the icing. I chose not to since children would also be eating these. The icing was a canned buttercream frosting. I will be prowling Pinterest for some icing recipes soon.

midori cupcake

The result: The Midori itself is green but the cake will barely have any green color. Next time I may add some green coloring to the batter.

Yes you can use a recipe from Pinterest if you prefer. There are many to choose from. There may have been some Midori consumption during the baking of these cupcakes. I blame Skelly.

You may have noticed that all my celebrations have a little spookiness to them. If you have a little darkness in your soul like me don’t be afraid to let it bleed out into your life year round. I hope all your celebrations are dark and spooky ones!