Homemade Wild Black Raspberry Jelly

This weekend hubby and I put on our work boots and followed a wet muddy path out behind our house until we got to the wild black raspberry plants.  I have been wanting to make some homemade jelly for a while now and it just didn’t seem right to let these plump juicy berries go to waste.

Of course we had to battle mosquitos, a couple Daddy Long Legs, and some noisy birds that warned us to leave their berries alone.    But in the end – it was all worth it.

I followed this recipe for  Blackberry Jelly that I found posted by Kathy in Florida on Food.com.  If you follow the instructions just as I did, then I think you’ll be eating homemade jelly too!

When I have fruit that has a lot of seeds like these berries do I prefer to make jelly over jam because I can avoid the seeds all together.

This recipe was easy to follow and the jelly making went fairly quickly.  I used a box of SUREJELL for the pectin.  I have always had good luck with this brand and it’s what my mom used long before I started making jams and jellies.  *Cooks note: Remember to skim the foam off the top before putting the jelly in jars.

And did you know there is no written rule that says you only have to eat jelly on toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  Try it on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I am now officially in the jam and jelly making mood.  My next adventure?  To pick cherries and make homemade cherry jam.

Have you ever made homemade jams and jellies?  What’s your favorite flavor?

A Simple and Wickedly Good 4th of July Dessert–Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Even if you haven’t given  4th of July  dessert a thought at this point I think you might after looking at these pictures of these simple and wickedly good ice cream cookie sandwiches.

Of course you can buy cookies from your favorite bakery to make these but they aren’t the same as using chocolate chip cookies made from scratch. 

I filled these sandwiches with  Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Cream made with 1/2 the fat .  (This is not a sponsored post. )  I’m just sharing one of my favorite products with you.  My new favorite Edy’s  flavor is Mud Pie; coffee ice cream with chocolate cookie chunks and fudge swirl.  I have to admit it rocks the ice cream world. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick of margarine, or butter

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. light brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

Makes about 16 cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two  cookies sheets with cooking spray.

In a large bowl cream together margarine, sugars,  egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla.  Add flour and mix completely.  Fold in mini-chocolate chips.  Drop by dining teaspoon onto cookie sheets about two inches apart.  Bake approximately 8 minutes until cookies are light golden colored and are slightly firm to the touch.  Be careful not to over bake.

Move to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before making ice cream sandwiches. 

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake

I was ready to experiment in the kitchen yesterday.  I planned on making something with some Granny Smith apples I had on hand.  I considered making a pie, muffins, bread, and apple crisp, but I couldn’t shake the idea of creating a deliciously moist apple cake.

I started out with a big bowl and worked my way into this delicious cake.  I promise you this cake is super moist (thanks to the sour cream) and will quench any hankering you have for the combination of apples and cinnamon.   What’s even better?  You can don’t need an electric mixer to whip this cake up; simply mix by hand.

I decided to title this recipe as Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake because it is the type of dessert my mother or grandmother would have whipped up to serve following one of their delicious home cooked meals. 

Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake

1 c. granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 stick of butter, softened

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4  tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and sliced very thin

Cinnamon and sugar mixture – 1/2 c. granulated sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon;  add prepared apple slices and set aside

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8”x8” glass baking dish

In a large bowl mix by hand the sugar, egg, softened butter, and sour cream.  Add cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and flour; mix until all ingredients are combined.  Don’t over mix.  Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Layer half of the apple slices on top of the batter.  Repeat with remaining cake batter and apple slices.  The apples will be the top layer.

Bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being submitted into the center of the cake.

Cool slightly and serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream, or allow to cool and serve later. 

Delicious Apple Sour Cream Cake - From Scratch

 

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake - Serve Warm or Cold

What is your favorite fruit to bake with?

Supermarket Deli Pistachio Salad

This pistachio salad  is one of my summer picnic favorites.   And while it’s usually a popular item at most supermarket deli’s there is no reason not to make it yourself at home.  The ingredients and the making of this salad are so simple that you’ll wonder (like me) why you didn’t make it sooner, or more often.

Here is what you will need.

(1) 8 oz. tub of light whipped topping

(1) 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple (drained)

(1) 3 oz. package of instant pistachio pudding

2 c. mini marshmallows

2-3 drops of green food coloring (optional)

In a large mixing bowl mix the pudding and drained pineapple together.  Add the whipped topping and mix until everything is combined.  Add the food coloring if desired.  Fold in the mini marshmallows.  Refrigerate a couple hours before serving.

I didn’t use the food coloring in this salad.  If you decide to use it in your salad it will be much more greener.

Easy to make pistachio salad - a picnic favorite

What’s one of your favorite picnic salads?

The Former Willard Psychiatric Center Tour Date 2015

SAVE THE DATE!!

Who:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton Child Care Center presents

What:  The  Former Willard State Psychiatric Center Tour – 2015

Where:  Camp Edgemere to purchase tickets @ $10.00 each.  Children under 10 – no charge.

WhenMay 16, 2015  9AM & 1PM

At 11AM  there will be a service at the Willard Cemetery memorializing  Lawrence Mocha.   Mr. Mocha (also known at the gravedigger) was a patient at Willard who  buried over a thousand other patients while he was institutionalized.  New York Times Journalist, Dan Barry, wrote an excellent article about Mr. Mocha.  To read his article click here.

Why: This tour is offered annually as fundraiser for  The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Children’s Center.

For more information contact (607)869-5533

Curious about what you might see while touring Willard?  Check out my 2011 tour of Willard here.

PicMonkey Makes Photo Editing Simple

 

Have you ever worked with photo editing programs?  And if so, are you intimidated by them?  A long time ago I  purchased a photo editing program that I found wasn’t very user friendly.  Since then I’ve played around with some of the programs on-line and I’ve found PicMonkey  to be my favorite.  I can easily enhance, add text, make a collage, or turn an ordinary photo into the unordinary.  

This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just me gabbing about a website that I’ve found quite useful in my blogging.   And because  I’m  somewhat  frugal, I work off of the basic (free) PicMonkey program.  But if you are willing to spend a few bucks then you can upgrade to their Royale package for $4.99 a month, or $33.00 annually, and the first month trial is free.

The photo above has been slightly enhanced through the photo gallery program on my computer.  Just a little tweaking was done to brighten the images and correct the color before I uploaded them to PicMonkey to make my collage. 

From this point forward I’m going to show you just how creative you can be using  PicMonkey.  In the pictures below  I used multiple design options.  My suggestion is to sit down and play with the program and get familiar with it.  I think you’ll see that there are plenty of features to keep you busy.  If you run your cursor over the image it will tell you what photo process I applied to each photo.

 

If you have a favorite image above please go ahead and share it on Pinterest – one of my most favorite places to hang out!

The Best Oatmeal Cookie on Earth

I love oatmeal cookies so recently I decide to experiment a little.  As a result of that experimenting I came up with what I consider as the best oatmeal cookie on earth.  This cookie is moist and tender, not too sweet, and is loaded with delicious dried cherries and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.    

If you are not a raisin fan then using dried cherries is the answer.  Cherries are a healthy filler that gives your cookies the flavor, texture, and heartiness they deserve.  

Chocolate Chip Cherry Oaties

1 c. margarine, softened

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg together.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix completely.   Using a dining sized teaspoon, drop cookie dough onto the prepared sheets about an 1 1/4” apart.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until a light golden brown.  Cool before transferring to baking rack.  Store in airtight container.

What is your favorite dried fruit?