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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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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Mother’s Day Cake and Skeletons

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Strawberry Cloud Cake in a canning jar

Strawberry Cloud Cake in a canning jar

Happy Mother’s Day! Just spent time with the family. I must confess I did get a little jealous while they were here. The girls gave all their attention to Skelly. It still was a great mother’s day.

Miss K wanted to sit on Skelly's lap. it was funny and oh so cute. Miss S was content to lay her head on his shoulder.

Miss K wanted to sit on Skelly’s lap. it was funny and oh so cute. Miss S was content to lay her head on his shoulder.

I did have to bake my own cake. The husband nor the daughter bake so it was up to me to bake the cake. I decided to make a cake I saw on Pinterest. This cake is usually made with blueberry pie filling but I wanted to try strawberry pie filling. It is an easy cake to make. You can use a Bundt pan or a 9×13 pan. I used my Bundt pan. Not one of the pins gave a name to this cake so I named mine Strawberry Cloud.

Strawberry Cloud Cake

1 box of Angel Food cake mix
1 22 oz. can strawberry pie filling (any flavor pie filling will work)

In a large bowl mix by hand the two ingredients. That’s it. No water, no eggs, nothing else.

Pour into your greased pan. Now some pins say ungreased pan. First I’m not sure that is an actual word, second I have bake an angel food cake in a pan that wasn’t greased. Trust me you don’t want to clean out that pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch on top.

I was in a experimental mood so I also baked some of the batter in a small canning jar and a ramekin. I have been wanting to try baking a cake in a canning jar. Plus I wanted to see how well this would bake up in a ramekin incase I ever wanted to make this as one serving dessert for parties.

Cake ingredients

All three baked up nicely. I did worry about the glass shattering but it was a okay. This is a damn good cake. I had me a piece with some whip cream. Yummy. I did not share this with Skelly, he hogged my time with the girls so he wasn’t getting any of my cake.

I hope this day that we honor mothers was a good one for you.

single strawberry cloud

Yes there is a big piece cut out of the back. I couldn't wait.

Yes there is a big piece cut out of the back. I couldn’t wait.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Cake

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stars1
If you have been on Pinterest I’m sure you have seen the pin showing how to bake a cake with a heart shape running through the middle. The pin is just a series of photos merged into one long photo showing the process. I was unable to find, and believe me I searched all over, but could not find written/detailed instructions on how to do this.

Here is the Heart Inside Cake Pin

So even though there was a pin I was still on my own on this one. The pictures were self explanatory so how hard could it be? Right?

Well it wasn’t difficult. It sure would have been nice to have some pointers with experience behind them. Well I’m going to share what I learned from the mistakes I made and the things I did right.

You will need:
2 cakes. Each different color. (I used box mixes. One chocolate the other strawberry)
A 9×13 pan to bake the first cake in.
A cookie cutter.
A loaf type pan to bake the final cake in.

I did not have a heart shape cookie cutter like used in the pin but I did have a pack of star shaped cookie cutters in various sizes. I choose the smallest one. That was my first and second mistake. I should have used a more simple shape, one without pointy small parts. I also should have used a bigger cutter.

star cutter

I lined my 9×13 pan with a product that is parchment paper on one side aluminum foil on the other. You could grease and flour the pan if you prefer.
Bake the cake according to directions on box. Looking back maybe I should have added an extra egg to the mix to make the cake denser.
Let cake cool, use cookie cutter to cut out the stars. I just cut out as many as possible. My dad just happen to come by as I finished cutting out the pieces and he offered to ‘dispose’ of the scrap pieces of cake I had left over. He is too kind.

the first cake
I only had a loaf pan. I knew it wasn’t going to be large enough for this project. Yet the crazy woman in me said, just do it. Here’s where I made the third mistake, well fourth if you count using to small of a loaf pan. I put a bit of batter down in bottom of pan before lining the pan with the shape pieces. Don’t do this.
My next but not last mistake was I did not cram the pan full of the star pieces. I lined them up like the pin showed but I should have packed them in tight. There were gaps. Did it occur to me that those gaps would get filled with chocolate batter causing things to go wrong? No.

in the pan
So I poured the batter in over the star pieces. Of course the batter oozed between the stars and a few stars moved around because I poured the batter in to fast. You should spoon your batter in, you will have more control.
The pan was too small so the cake overflowed some. I was prepared for this, I had placed a pan under the cake to catch any overflow. When she see the photos you will notice I did not place the catch pan in the best spot. Clean up was still easy though.

Oops, too much cake for one pan

Oops, too much cake for one pan

I turned the baked cake out of the pan to let it cool. As you look at the pictures I promise there is a star shape in there…somewhere.

So what I learned:
Simple shape cookie cutter. Skip the star shape. Don’t use the smallest cookie cutter.
Use the deepest loaf type pan you have.
Don’t pour any batter on bottom of loaf pan before placing in your cut shape pieces.
Cram the cake shapes in line so there isn’t any gaps for the batter to ooze between.
Spoon batter slowly over cake shapes so not to displace them.

There's a star in there. I promise.

There’s a star in there. I promise.

Really there is.

Really there is.

I will try again and I will perfect this. I actually have an idea of my next shape in cake, cake. It is Halloween themed. I will share it with you when I make it.
Thanks for joining my on this very Pinteresting cake adventure.

Scrub a Dub Dub – DIY Body and Hand Scrub

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trio scene

Today I will be sharing recipes for two types of scrubs. One is a strawberry scented body scrub, for a gift, the other is a pumpkin spice hand scrub (it can also be used as a body scrub but your shower/tub will get slick). The hand scrub is for me.

My sister, we will call her D had her 30-something birthday a few weeks ago, I would tell you the exact age but she would never forgive me. Let me tell you something about my sister. She is spring/summer where I am fall/winter. When the first blooms fight their way out of the earth after winter my sister comes to life. She smiles more, there is excitement in her voice when she talks about her garden plans, and she will happily spend her days sitting out in the sun reading a good book. Me, my life is fall. When the days get shorter and there is that cool bite in the air, that is my time. Oh I still love to garden in the summer but I’m not happy out in the hot sun. I worry about bursting into flames.

For Ds birthday I decided to make her a summer scented body scrub. The recipe I used is similar to whipped coconut lotion. You just add an extra ingredient.

D has always loved strawberries. The scent and the taste. A few years ago she suddenly developed an allergy to strawberries. I don’t mean she breaks out in hives, no it’s an allergic reaction that requires a trip to the ER. She misses strawberries dearly. I went on Amazon to find some strawberry fragrance to use in her body scrub. If she can’t eat them I can at least give her strawberries in a safe way. I ended up getting a multi-pack with several summer scents.

 


 

Strawberry Body Scrub

Ingredients:

1 cup to 1 ½ cups coconut oil.

Vitamin E oil (1 tbsp) optional

Tea Tree Oil (just a few drops) optional

1 to 2 cups Brown sugar

Strawberry fragrance (12 drops or more depending on how strong you want the scent)

Bowl

Hand mixer

Fork

Container for the scrub. For a gift I use a pretty glass jar with lid, for me I just use a plastic container with a lid.

I must tell you this will be a thick body scrub. Not a runny oily one. I like the thick ones with coconut oil for the shower. Coconut oil seems to just run down the drain if the water is hot enough whereas the runny oils tend to stick to the tub making a slick mess which could result in slips and falls. This I have learned the hard way.

Instructions:

Scoop out several big spoonful’s of coconut oil.(it is a solid oil, like lard). If you don’t have a measuring cup, six or seven heaping spoonful’s should be plenty.

Add your vitamin E and tea Tree oil if you are using them.

Now with your hand mixer, whip up the coconut oil until is the consistency of a thick hand lotion. This will take several minutes.

Add your fragrance.

Mix it in by hand or mixer.

Now add you brown sugar. Use enough to make the concoction feel more like a paste instead of a lotion. Usually one to two cups. Mix it in by hand, with a fork. Fork just seems to work better than a spoon.

making scrub

Smell your wonderful scrub. If the scent isn’t strong enough now is the time to add more.

Now your are ready to put the scrub in pretty jars to give as gifts. This filled three 4 oz. jam jars and one slightly larger decorative canning jar. D got strawberry whipped coconut lotion, body and hand scrub.

sisters


 

Here is the recipe for hand scrub I use when I come in from the garden. I have dirt on my hands and a ton under my nails. This scrub does a good job of getting that stubborn dirt off my hands. I keep a small jar by the kitchen and bathroom sink. I got this recipe from Pinterest. Pumpkin Spice Scrub. On Pinterest it is called a body scrub but I like it as a hand scrub.

p s hand scrub

Pumpkin Spice Hand Scrub *

Ingredients:

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 cup of vegetable oil. Since this is just to get dirt off my hands I don’t use the more expensive oils.

Bowl for mixing.

Jars for storage.

Instructions:

Mix the dry ingredients: the two sugars and pumpkin spice together. Mix well. Try to get all the lumps out. Add oil and stir. If it is too thick add more oil until you get it to the consistency you want.

*This will make a heck of a lot of hand scrub. I halved the recipe, it was still too much. I could tell it was going to be too much before adding the oil. So I poured the dry mix in the two jars I was using then added the oil to the jars. I had quite a bit of dry mix left. I just poured the remaining dry mix into a labeled baggie to use at a later date. It was a warm breezy day when I made these scrubs. I had windows and doors open enjoying the nice weather. Sadly as I was pouring the dry mix into a baggie the wind slammed the front door shut making me jump out of my skin which resulted in half of the mix missing the bag and spilling into the floor. And on my pants leg. And down my shoe. Do you know how sticky brown sugar is? Pretty darn sticky I discovered.

Now if you are using this for gifts go with the full recipe. I don’t know how many jars it will fill up but I’m sure it will be more than plenty.

How easy was that? Once you learn the process there are so many scents you can use to customize your own scrubs.

open scrub

 

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.