Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

Last week I shared a post for homemade black raspberry jelly.  We have berries are out behind our house that are free for the picking – and boy are they plentiful this year.  I think all of the rain we had this spring has helped them grow.   It’s hard for me to rationalize leaving these  berries unpicked because they are loaded with healthy antioxidants and are super delicious.  My only problem is that my stomach doesn’t tolerate seeds well so I have to be a little crafty and work around them.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to making seedless preserves and sauces before now but all I can say is better late than never.

Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

3 c. of berries

1 1/2 c. water

Put berries and water in a large saucepan and bring a full boil for 5 minutes over medium heat – stirring often.  Mash the berries in the pan as they soften while cooking them.  (This will yield about 2 cups of juice).

Once the berries have boiled for 5 minutes remove from heat.  Strain the juice through a doubled piece of cheese cloth and discard the seeds and pulp.

2 c. juice

2 tbsp. butter

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. corn starch, plus 1 tbsp. water (mixed together)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a clean saucepan, melt the butter.  Add juice, sugar, salt, and cornstarch; bring to a boil on slow heat – stirring constantly.  Cook until liquid thickens.  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into container. Makes 1 pint.  Serve warm or cool.   Store in the refrigerator (stir thoroughly before serving, or warm for a few seconds in the microwave).

Use this as a topping on ICE CREAM, MILKSHAKES, PANCAKES, or vanilla YOGURT (like pictured).  One of these days I’m going to experiment and make a homemade black raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing using this sauce and when I do, I’ll share the recipe.

Imagine how happy you’d make a friend, neighbor, or co-worker if you presented them with a small jar of this.  Think Christmas…  I have froze bags of these berries so I can make fresh batches of sauce and jam throughout the cold winter months when ripe berries are hard to come by.

Pick berries and get into the sauce!

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Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie–A Summer Treat!

Grab a fork and a plate for a taste of this Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie.

With the 4th of July weekend here don’t pass up the chance to make one of these deliciously rich and creamy pies.  This pie is easy (no-cook) to make and will wow just about any hungry crowd.  I made a pie for a gathering of six and we didn’t leave as much as a crumb.

Bluberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie (Recipe adapted from Jamie Cookies It Up)

Crust

1 package (not the entire box) of honey graham crackers, crushed fine

5 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix completely.  Press into a pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes.

Filling

12 oz.  cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. white chocolate chips, melted

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. milk

2 c. whipped topping

1 pint of fresh blueberries ( add an extra half a pint of berries if you LOVE fruit)

dash of salt

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and melted chips together.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt.  Mix in powdered sugar and whipped topping one cup at a time until smooth and creamy.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Do you have plans for the  4th of July?  What are you making for dessert?

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?

Simple & Healthy Ingredients Make For Delicious Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing

So, welcome 2015! 

Like many people who make new year resolutions, eating healthier options of the things I like always tops my list.  I’m always optimistic coming out of the gate but somewhere along the line I start lose my momentum, fall off the wagon, and resort to my old (not so wise) eating habits.  I vow every year that “this year is going to be different”.   And in the end, I’ve only fooled myself into believing that I could forgo delicious sweets, homemade bread, second helpings of my favorite dish of macaroni and cheese, and of course the great wines found here in the Finger Lakes Region and abroad. 

But… In a good faith effort to try try again, I’m sharing a recipe I found at The Pioneer Woman’s blog for a healthy and delicious homemade salad dressing she has named Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing.  I made a couple adaptations to the original recipe.

I decided that Aunt Trish’s dressing has a Mediterranean taste to it – which I love.  It tastes so fresh and healthy, and the fact that there are no preservatives makes it all the better.  I do have to warn you that this recipe makes a considerably small batch.  My suggestion is to double or triple the recipe because I’m sure it will keep well in the fridge for a week or two – if it lasts that long!  At some point you may want to remove the garlic if you don’t want garlic overkill.

Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing ( This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

3/4 c. olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

4 tbsp. of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt & pepper

Dash of paprika

1/2 tsp. honey

2 whole cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)

Put all ingredients together in a jar or dressing shaker and shake until mixed.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

 

Have you made any new year resolutions?  If so, what are they?  Do you think you’ll stick to them?

Healthy & Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

Every year, for many years, I have broke a promise to myself and it all has to do with soup.  Yes, I said it all has to do with soup.

You see, each year I have told myself that this is the year I’m going to make Homemade Butternut Squash Soup.  But then I never do make the soup and there has never been a good reason for it either.  Just lame excuses.

This year, I finally kept my word to myself and made the most delicious and healthy soup imaginable.  I now realize that all that procrastination was crazy.  The most time consuming part of making this soup is the peeling and cubing of the squash – which I enlisted my hubby to help me with.  If you want to speed this soup making process up a bit then I suggest purchasing the squash already peeled and cubed from the vegetable section of your favorite supermarket.

This soup recipe fits my tastes and expectations perfectly.  There was no disappointments and I’m adding it to my tried-and-true recipes in hopes that I’ll make it for many more years to come.  If you try this recipe please let me know what you think of it.

Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. butter (or margarine)

1 small onion, diced

1/2 c. diced carrot

4 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash

4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable)

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. skim milk

1/4 c. half & half

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and oil on low heat.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Once onions are cooked, add carrots, squash, and broth.  Cover; bring to a boil until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and puree the mixture.  Return to low heat and stir in milk, half & half, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt & pepper to taste.  Do not bring to a boil.   

This soup makes a great appetizer or entrée.  I served it as an entrée with a salad and homemade Almost Texas Roadhouse Rolls that I’ll be sharing with you in a future post.  

Although the ingredients are different, this soup reminds me of Panera’s Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup – yum!

What is your favorite soup recipe?

Homemade Peanut Butter Topping–My Liquid Gold

If you haven’t noticed, my blog posts are not as frequent at they use to be.  It’s not because I don’t enjoy blogging anymore, it’s just that other activities have temporarily captured my attention.  To make up for my unusual absence, I’ve decided to share my recipe for my liquid gold with you.  Calling all peanut butter lovers to the table here!

If you’re not a peanut butter lover then I apologize – but have no fear, you can always make one of these toppings instead.

Country Apple Caramel Sauce

Blueberry Sauce

Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Topping

Peach Glace’ Topping

Apple Rum Ice Cream Topping

Kahlua Hot Fudge Sauce

Black Cherry Ice Cream Sauce

And now for my liquid gold recipe!

Homemade Peanut Butter Topping

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

1/2 c. heavy cream

2 tbsp. corn syrup

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Put all of the ingredients except the vanilla into a medium sized saucepan.  On low heat, melt all ingredients together; stirring frequently.  Bring to a slow boil until sauce starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Cool slightly before serving on ice cream.  Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

*When you want to use topping that has been refrigerated, warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave before putting it on your ice cream.

If you’re looking for an easy no cook, no egg, ice cream recipe then I highly recommend you give my Simply Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe a try.  It is my all-time favorite vanilla ice cream recipe.

What is your favorite ice cream topping?

Cheesy Potato Casserole

There isn’t much I’m going to gab about in this post.  Other than how deliciously sumptuous and belly filling this Cheesy Potato Casserole is.

Yesterday was one of those days that I decided to play mad scientist in the kitchen.  And oddly enough, I wasn’t craving sweets like I normally do, I was craving a comfort food.  Maybe it’s because we’ve had such cold and blustery weather for days on end.  Or maybe it’s because I was preparing myself for a night of cozying up in front of the television to watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  Whatever the reason, this mad scientist made the best cheesy potato casserole in her history of cooking.

Since I opted to make this dish later in the day I missed the chance to get nice bright photo’s but I went ahead and took pictures anyways.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

1/2 of a 8 oz. brick of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

1/2 of a 8 oz. brick of Pepper Jack Cheese, grated

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. diced onion

2 tbsp. diced red pepper

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1 pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. season salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 can of Cream of Potato Soup

5 mediums sized russet potatoes (with the skins on), sliced thin

1 1/2 cups French fried onions

2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese (set aside for topping)

Grease a large casserole dish with butter.  I used a 10” oval dish.

Grate the cheese into a large bowl.

Slice potatoes.  I used my Pampered Chef Mandoline to get the job done quickly.

Melt butter in skillet on low heat and lightly sauté onions, peppers, and garlic.

Add flour to sautéed vegetables and mix thoroughly.  On medium heat, stir in the skim milk making a white sauce.  Stir constantly until thickened.

Add potato soup, salt, pepper, and season salt to the white sauce, completely mix all ingredients.

Remove from heat.

Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the prepared dish.  Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle half the cheese over them. Then sprinkle half of the French fried onions on top.

Repeat the process.

Finish the dish by sprinkling the grated parmesan cheese on top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees until potatoes are tender – about 1 hour.  Remove aluminum foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes more to brown the top of the casserole.

These potatoes are so good.  Cheesy, gooey, and crusty all in one dish!   I regret that I didn’t get a picture of the casserole bubbling and freshly baked.  We dug in before I even gave it a thought.

This would make a great dish to take to any potluck supper.  I can almost guarantee that you won’t have to worry about carting any leftovers home.

What is your favorite comfort food?