I was recently asked to do a food demonstration at a local county fair. I thought it might be fun to showcase some of the new home food preservation products and make some lemon and strawberry jam. I bought a bag of lemons, some sugar, pectin and fresh strawberries for the occasion. A few portable appliances were easy to load into the back of my car and plug into the electrical outlet at the Home and Family Arts Building. I had a blast making jam for all of the folks visiting the fairgrounds. I was happy to answer questions and drum up some new found interest in canning. If you have never preserved food or if you’re looking for a fresh new way to can fruit with ease, check out some of the new items on the market and get busy canning nature’s bounty!
Sprinkle in the pectin…
Add the crushed strawberries…
A fresh additon… lemon zest
Time to give this a stir…
Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil… This is an amazing little appliance. Portable, electric, and easy to clean… Small batch canning is highlighted with this jam and jelly maker.
Getting ready to process…
Set to “canning mode”…
Lemony Strawberry Jam
Check out the recipe at the link below. Follow the recipe exactly as written. This is a must when preserving foods. No substitutions, unless directed. Always use reputable, tested recipes for home food preservation.
Jeepers creepers, it sure is busy around here…
This happens every December as the temperatures drop, the snow starts to fall, and holiday celebrations begin.
I recently attended an early morning co-worker’s meeting. We only meet four times a year and our December meeting is more like a meeting/potluck lunch. We discuss business during the morning hours and then celebrate the upcoming holidays with a carry-in lunch in the afternoon. As a special breakfast treat, I had volunteered to bake a few items and run to a local coffee shop for a box of hot coffee for the crowd.
Well, to my dismay, it started to snow heavily the night before the event and I knew the snow would hamper my trip to the donut shop the following morning. I decided that I would get up really early to throw my baked goods into the oven so that I could travel into town and onto the meeting in a timely manner. I wanted to make an uncomplicated recipe with only a few ingredients to speed up the process so I grabbed my recipe file to look for a recipe that had appeared in the newspaper many years ago. I had clipped it out and tucked it away for just such an occasion. For this simple recipe, I used a box of spice cake mix and a can of apple pie filling for two of the ingredients. The addition of three eggs was all that was needed to finish off the batter. I threw in a handful of chopped walnuts to add a bit of crunch.
Below you will find the basic recipe. The addition of nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, etc. will certainly add to the flavor and texture of the cake. I’ve added a note with some classic flavor combinations if you would like to change things up a bit… Enjoy this moist and flavorful cake!
Amish Snack Cake
1 box cake mix, any flavor (I use spice cake mix)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 can pie filling, any flavor (I use apple pie filling)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs and pie filling. Stir together until well blended. Bake for 40-45 minutes or test for doneness with a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake. Cool completely before icing (if desired).
- Chocolate cake mix with cherry pie filling and chocolate chips
- Butter pecan cake mix with apple pie filling and nuts
- Yellow cake mix with peach filling and walnuts
- Pineapple cake mix with blueberry filling and coconut
- Yellow cake mix with cherry filling
- Spice cake mix with apple pie filling and walnuts
I recently attended a daylong training in Indianapolis. A soup and salad lunch was served mid-day. One of the local restaurants was asked to provide a bounty of fresh rolls, piping hot turkey chili and a fabulous cranberry and feta salad. I passed on the rolls and chili but piled a healthy portion of the salad on my festive plate. As I munched on the salad, I was reminded of a recipe that I used to make years ago and made a note to look through my cookbook collection to remake the dish for the Thanksgiving table (for some lighter fare.) Here is the version that I made… I don’t recall where the recipe originated, I have a handwritten note with the dressing ingredients loosely estimated. We sure enjoyed this recipe. To save time, I’ve used a bottled raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing. I have also added some freshly sliced pears to the mix. Super easy and delicious! Great for the upcoming holidays.
Festive Cranberry Feta and Pecan Salad
2 tablespoons raspberry or apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar or the equivalent sweetener
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups mixed salad greens, rinsed and dried
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper; mix until sugar and salt dissolve. Slowly whisk in olive oil. In a chilled glass salad bowl, toss together the greens, cranberries, pecans, and cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
By popular demand, I am posting one of my all-time favorite snack mix recipes. It never fails, whenever I make this mix, I am always asked for the details of the recipe. During the holidays, I usually pack this lip-smackin’ snack into decorative jars to pass along as a homemade gift from the kitchen. Light, buttery, and full of that scrumptious honey flavor, this sweet treat is a winner. Make a big batch and keep a watchful eye as it cools on the kitchen counter. The mix has a tendency to disappear as the minutes tick by … Irresistible!
Honey Nut Snack Mix
6 cups Chex or Crispix cereal
1 1/4 cups mini pretzels
1 cup nuts (peanuts, lightly chopped pecans, or lightly chopped walnuts)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coat a 13×9″ pan with cooking spray. Add cereal, pretzels, and nuts; set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and honey. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes, DO NOT STIR. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Carefully pour the hot syrup over the cereal mixture, stirring until well coated.
Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour; gently stirring every 15 minutes to distribute the syrup evenly over the mix. Let cool on cookie sheets lined with parchment or wax paper. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from “The Family Table” by Brenda Hyde
The next time you’re looking for a sweet treat this one will not disappoint. Great for holiday gatherings, this party mix is completely addicting. Make a quick batch, place it out on the counter and BAM, it’s gone in a flash. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this delicious treat! It’s a sinful mix that will satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday season.
Sweet and Salty White Chocolate Snack Mix
1 (10 oz) package mini twist pretzels
5 cups toasted oat cereal rounds
5 cups crispy rice or corn cereal squares
2 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1 (14 oz) package peanut M&M candies
2 (11 oz) packages white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons canola oil
Line a few (3) jelly roll pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
In a very large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat white chips and oil for 2 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring once. Microwave on high for 10 seconds and stir until smooth. Pour over cereal mixture and combine well. Spread into prepared pans, cool and break apart. Store in an airtight container.
I’m always looking for a crunchy snack that is low in carbs but high in flavor. This treat fits the bill. The sweet cinnamon flavor and spicy cayenne pepper make for a winning combination. Throw the simple ingredients together and this recipe takes about 5-10 minutes from start to finish. The aroma of cinnamon and nuts warming over the heat is simply devine! Eat them alone or sprinkle them over a bed of lettuce with sliced berries and a light vinaigrette dressing. YUMMY!
Cinnamon Spiced Pecans (Low Carb)
2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 packets of Splenda artificial sweetener (or to suit your taste)
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter and add cayenne pepper. In a single layer, add pecans to skillet and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly just until they begin to brown. Be careful to regulate the heat as not to burn the nuts or butter. Stir in cinnamon, salt, and powdered sweetener. Remove from pan and cool. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.
As the cool winds blow down the length of Lake Michigan, they usher in autumn showers and chilly temperatures. This weekend we are experiencing “lake effect rains” and the cooler temperatures have me searching through my files for all of my favorite “comfort food” recipes.
This irresistible snack is great for a fall tailgate party or family get-together. Roasted cashews mixed with a blend of sweet and spicy ingredients make this crunchy finger-food hard to resist. Nearly everyone that has tried these spiced nuts find them irresistible. Make a couple of batches because they’re usually gobbled up rather quickly.
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts
1 1/2 lbs. cashew nuts
1½ tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread cashews in a single layer on a jelly roll pan. Roast the cashews for 8 to 12 minutes, or until lightly toasted and golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine fresh rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne, and salt; add melted butter, mixing well.Remove the nuts from the oven and carefully add hot cashews to the spice mixture. With a large spoon or spatula fold in the nuts to completely coat with the spice mixture. Cool cashews in a single layer on a piece of foil or parchment. Serve warm or transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature for a few days.
(adapted from the Food Network)